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BACKGROUND: The burden of Plasmodium vivax infections has been underappreciated, especially in southeast Asia where chloroquine resistant strains have emerged. Our aim was to compare the safety and efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine with that of artemether-lumefantrine in patients with uncomplicated malaria caused by multidrug-resistant P falciparum and P vivax. METHODS: 774 patients in southern Papua, Indonesia, with slide-confirmed malaria were randomly assigned to receive either artemether-lumefantrine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and followed up for at least 42 days. The primary endpoint was the overall cumulative risk of parasitological failure at day 42 with a modified intention-to-treat analysis. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, trial number 00157833. FINDINGS: Of the 754 evaluable patients enrolled, 466 had infections with P falciparum, 175 with P vivax, and 113 with a mixture of both species. The overall risk of failure at day 42 was 43% (95% CI 38-48) for artemether-lumefantrine and 19% (14-23) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (hazard ratio=3.0, 95% CI 2.2-4.1, p<0.0001). After correcting for reinfections, the risk of recrudescence of P falciparum was 4.4% (2.6-6.2) with no difference between regimens. Recurrence of vivax occurred in 38% (33-44) of patients given artemether-lumefantrine compared with 10% (6.9-14.0) given dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p<0.0001). At the end of the study, patients receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were 2.0 times (1.2-3.6) less likely to be anaemic and 6.6 times (2.8-16) less likely to carry vivax gametocytes than were those given artemether-lumefantrine. INTERPRETATION: Both dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine were safe and effective for the treatment of multidrug-resistant uncomplicated malaria. However, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provided greater post-treatment prophylaxis than did artemether-lumefantrine, reducing P falciparum reinfections and P vivax recurrences, the clinical public-health importance of which should not be ignored.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60160-3

Type

Journal article

Journal

Lancet

Publication Date

03/03/2007

Volume

369

Pages

757 - 765

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Anemia, Antimalarials, Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination, Artemisinins, Child, Child, Preschool, Diarrhea, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Combinations, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Ethanolamines, Female, Fluorenes, Humans, Indonesia, Infant, Malaria, Falciparum, Malaria, Vivax, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Quinolines, Recurrence, Sesquiterpenes, Treatment Outcome, Urticaria, Vomiting