Treatment of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria with 3-day artesunate-mefloquine combination.
Nosten F., Luxemburger C., ter Kuile FO., Woodrow C., Eh JP., Chongsuphajaisiddhi T., White NJ.
Studies of 652 adults and children with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria were done to determine the optimum treatment of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria on the Thai-Burmese border. Single-dose artesunate (4 mg/kg) plus mefloquine (25 mg of base/kg) gave more rapid symptomatic and parasitologic responses than high-dose mefloquine alone but did not improve cure rates. Three days of artesunate (total dose, 10 mg/kg) plus mefloquine was 98% effective compared with a 28-day failure rate of 31% with high-dose mefloquine alone (relative risk [RR], 0.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.02-0.2; P < .0001). By day 63, the reinfection adjusted failure rates were 2% and 44%, respectively (P < .0001). Artesunate also prevented high-grade failures. Both drugs were well tolerated. No adverse effects were attributable to artesunate. Vomiting was reduced significantly by giving mefloquine on day 2 of treatment (RR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.20-0.79; P = .009. Artesunate (10 mg/kg over 3 days) plus mefloquine (25 mg/kg) is currently the most effective treatment for falciparum malaria in this area of increasing mefloquine resistance.