Single dose artemisinin-mefloquine treatment for acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria.
Tran TH., Arnold K., Nguyen TH., Pham PL., Nguyen TD., Bui MC., Le MT., Mach QP., Le HV., Pham PM.
For the treatment of patients with acute falciparum malaria, the combination of artemisinin as a single dose with a single dose of mefloquine was studied in 4 separate prospective trials, comprising 405 adults and 139 children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in 2 in-patient and 2 rural out-patient studies in Viet Nam. Adults received oral artemisinin and children artemisinin suppositories. Randomized comparative treatment schedules were: artemisinin alone for 5 d, mefloquine-sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (MSP), or quinine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Parasite clearance times (PCT) were rapid for artemisinin treated inpatients (90%: 14.8-20.4 h) but also for patients receiving MSP (PCT 90%: 18.0 h) and quinine (PCT 90%: 22.5 h). The recrudescence rate (RI) during a 28 d follow-up period among the patients given artemisinin plus mefloquine was 15% in the adult in-patients and zero in the adult and children out-patients. RI in the artemisinin 5 d treatment group was 33.3%; among those given artemisinin plus SP it was 47.3% in in-patients and in out-patients 46.1%. In the MSP treated out-patients RI was 1.5% in adults and zero in children. Artemisinin as a single dose (oral in adults and as a suppository in children) in combination with mefloquine was effective in rapidly lowering parasitaemia and in preventing recrudescence in hospital in-patients and in out-patients attending a rural health clinic. MSP alone as a single dose also rapidly reduced parasitaemia (but not as quickly as the artemisinin-mefloquine combination in out-patient children) and prevented recrudescence.