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The therapeutic efficacy and toxicity of a combination of low dose mefloquine (15 mg/kg) plus artesunate 10 mg/kg in one day (MA) was compared with the currently used regimen of high dose mefloquine (25 mg/kg) (MQ) in 552 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an area of multi-drug resistance on the Thai-Burmese border. MA gave faster clinical and parasitological responses and prevented early treatment failure; 15 patients in the MQ group (6%) were early failures (< 9 d) compared with none receiving MA (P = 0.0001). Overall failure rates by day 28 were 19% in the MA group and 24% in with MQ group (relative risk (RR) = 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.54-1.12). In the subgroup of patients who required re-treatment, MA proved significantly more effective than MQ; failure rates were 25% and 52% respectively (RR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.29-0.83). Treatment failures were associated with mefloquine treatment in the previous month (RR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.09-2.70) and diarrhoea (RR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.05-2.28). Gastrointestinal side-effects and dizziness were more likely in the MQ group. There was no evident adverse effect associated with artesunate. A single day's treatment with artesunate augments the antimalarial efficacy of mefloquine.

Original publication




Journal article


Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg

Publication Date





213 - 217


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Antimalarials, Artemisinins, Artesunate, Child, Child, Preschool, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Resistance, Drug Therapy, Combination, Humans, Infant, Malaria, Falciparum, Mefloquine, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Sesquiterpenes, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome