Randomized comparison of chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine versus artesunate plus mefloquine versus artemether-lumefantrine in the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Mayxay M., Khanthavong M., Lindegårdh N., Keola S., Barends M., Pongvongsa T., Yapom R., Annerberg A., Phompida S., Phetsouvanh R., White NJ., Newton PN.
BACKGROUND: Recent clinical trials in the Lao People's Democratic Republic have demonstrated that chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, which are national malaria treatment policy, are no longer effective in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. METHODS: A randomized comparison of 3 oral antimalarial combinations--chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine versus artesunate plus mefloquine versus artemether-lumefantrine--with 42-day follow-up period, was conducted among 330 patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in southern Laos. RESULTS: The 42-day cure rates, as determined by intention-to-treat analysis and adjusted for reinfection, were 100%, 97%, and 93% for the groups receiving artesunate plus mefloquine, artemether-lumefantrine, and chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, respectively. Of 8 patients receiving chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine who experienced treatment failure, 6 had early treatment failure. The mean parasite clearance time was significantly longer in patients treated with chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (2.9 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-3.0 days) than in those treated with artesunate plus mefloquine (2.07 days; 95% CI, 2.0-2.1 days; P<.001) and artemether-lumefantrine (2.08 days; 95% CI, 2.0-2.1 days; P<.001). Cure rates with artemether-lumefantrine were high despite low mean daily dietary fat intake (13.8 g; 95% CI, 12.5-15.1 g) and day 7 plasma lumefantrine concentrations (0.47 mu g/mL; 95% CI, 0.38-0.56 mu g/mL). CONCLUSION: Oral artesunate plus mefloquine and artemether-lumefantrine are highly effective for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Laos.