• Comparison of chloroquine, sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine, mefloquine and mefloquine-artesunate for the treatment of falciparum malaria in Kachin State, North Myanmar.

      Smithuis, F; Shahmanesh, M; Kyaw, M K K; Savran, O; Lwin, S; White, N J; Medecins sans Frontieres-Holland, Yangon, Myanmar. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-11)
      Multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria is widespread in Asia. In Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam the national protocols have changed largely to artesunate combined treatment regimens but elsewhere in East and South Asia chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) are still widely recommended by national malaria control programmes. In Kachin State, northern Myanmar, an area of low seasonal malaria transmission, the efficacy of CQ (25 mg base/kg) and SP (1.25/25 mg/kg), the nationally recommended treatments at the time, were compared with mefloquine alone (M; 15 mg base/kg) and mefloquine combined with artesunate (MA; 15:4 mg/kg). An open randomized controlled trial enrolled 316 patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, stratified prospectively into three age-groups. Early treatment failures (ETF) occurred in 41% (32/78) of CQ treated patients and in 24% of patients treated with SP (18/75). In young children the ETF rates were 87% after CQ and 35% after SP. Four children (two CQ, two SP) developed symptoms of cerebral malaria within 3 days after treatment. By day 42, failure rates (uncorrected for reinfections) had increased to 79% for CQ and 81% for SP. ETF rates were 2.5% after treatment with M and 3.9% after treatment with MA (P > 0.2). Overall uncorrected treatment failure rates at day 42 following M and MA were 23% and 21%, respectively. Chloroquine and SP are completely ineffective for the treatment of falciparum malaria in northern Myanmar. Mefloquine treatment is much more effective, but three day combination regimens with artesunate will be needed for optimum efficacy and protection against resistance.
    • Efficacy and effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus artesunate-mefloquine in falciparum malaria: an open-label randomised comparison.

      Smithuis, F; Kyaw, M K; Phe, O; Aye, K Z; Htet, L; Barends, M; Lindegardh, N; Singtoroj, T; Ashley, E A; Lwin, S; et al. (Elsevier, 2006-06-24)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combinations are judged the best treatments for multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Artesunate-mefloquine is widely recommended in southeast Asia, but its high cost and tolerability profile remain obstacles to widespread deployment. To assess whether dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a suitable alternative to artesunate-mefloquine, we compared the safety, tolerability, efficacy, and effectiveness of the two regimens for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum in western Myanmar (Burma). METHODS: We did an open randomised comparison of 3-day regimens of artesunate-mefloquine (12/25 mg/kg) versus dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (6.3/50 mg/kg) for the treatment of children aged 1 year or older and in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Within each group, patients were randomly assigned supervised or non-supervised treatment. The primary endpoint was the PCR-confirmed parasitological failure rate by day 42. Failure rates at day 42 were estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN27914471. FINDINGS: Of 652 patients enrolled, 327 were assigned dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (156 supervised and 171 not supervised), and 325 artesunate-mefloquine (162 and 163, respectively). 16 patients were lost to follow-up, and one patient died 22 days after receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Recrudescent parasitaemias were confirmed in only two patients; the day 42 failure rate was 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-2.5) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and 0 (0-1.2) for artesunate-mefloquine. Whole-blood piperaquine concentrations at day 7 were similar for patients with observed and non-observed dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Gametocytaemia developed more frequently in patients who had received dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine than in those on artesunate-mefloquine: day 7, 18 (10%) of 188 versus five (2%) of 218; relative risk 4.2 (1.6-11.0) p=0.011. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a highly efficacious and inexpensive treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria and is well tolerated by all age groups. The effectiveness of the unsupervised treatment, as in the usual context of use, equalled its supervised efficacy, indicating good adherence without supervision. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a good alternative to artesunate-mefloquine.
    • Efficacy of chloroquine and sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Koumantou, Mali.

      de Radiguès, X; Diallo, K I; Diallo, M; Ngwakum, P A; Maiga, H; Djimdé, A; Sacko, M; Doumbo, O; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, 42 bis, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France. xderadigues@epicentre.msf.org (Elsevier, 2006-11)
      We report the results of an in vivo antimalarial efficacy study with chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) conducted between 2003 and 2004 in Koumantou, southern Mali. A total of 244 children were included in the study; 210 children were followed-up for 28 days according to WHO recommendations, with PCR genotyping to distinguish late recrudescence from re-infection. Global failure proportions at Day 14, without taking into account re-infections, were 44.2% (95% CI 34.9-53.5%) in the CQ group and 2.0% (95% CI 0.0-4.8%) in the SP group. PCR-adjusted failure proportions at Day 28 were even higher in the CQ group (90.5% (95/105), 95% CI 84.8-96.2%) and relatively low in the SP group (7.0% (7/100), 95% CI 1.9-12.1%). These results show that CQ is no longer efficacious in Koumantou. The use of SP in monotherapy is likely to compromise its efficacy. We recommend the use of artemisinin-based combination therapy as first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Koumantou.
    • Emergence of extensive drug resistance during treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

      Cox, H; Sibilia, K; Feuerriegel, S; Kalon, S; Polonsky, J; Khamraev, A K; Rüsch-Gerdes, S; Mills, C; Niemann, S (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2008-11-27)
    • Ethiopian visceral leishmaniasis: generic and proprietary sodium stibogluconate are equivalent; HIV co-infected patients have a poor outcome.

      Ritmeijer, K; Veeken, H; Melaku, Y; Leal, G; Amsalu, R; Seaman, J; Davidson, R N; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, P.O. Box 10014, 1001 EA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. koert_ritmeijer@amsterdam.msf.org (Elsevier, 2008-01-31)
      We evaluated generic sodium stibogluconate (SSG) (International Dispensary Association, Amsterdam) versus Pentostam (sodium stibogluconate, GlaxoWellcome, London) under field conditions in Ethiopian patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL; kala-azar). The 199 patients were randomly assigned to Pentostam (n = 104) or SSG (n = 95) in 1998/99; both drugs were given at 20 mg/kg intra-muscularly for 30 days. A clinical cure after 30-days treatment was achieved in 70.2% (Pentostam) and 81.1% (SSG). There were no significant differences between the 2 drugs for the following parameters: frequency of intercurrent events (vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding or pneumonia) or main outcome (death during treatment and death after 6-month follow-up; relapse or post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis at 6-months follow-up). Twenty-seven patients had confirmed co-infection with HIV. On admission, HIV co-infected VL patients were clinically indistinguishable from HIV-negative VL patients. The HIV co-infected VL patients had a higher mortality during treatment (33.3% vs 3.6%). At 6-month follow-up, HIV-positive patients had a higher relapse rate (16.7% vs 1.2%), a higher death rate during the follow-up period (14.3% vs 2.4%), and more frequent moderate or severe post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (27.3% vs 13.3%). Only 43.5% of the HIV-positive patients were considered cured at 6-months follow-up vs 92.1% of the HIV-negative patients. HIV-positive patients relapsing with VL could become a reservoir of antimonial-resistant Leishmania donovani.
    • In vivo assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: duration of follow-up.

      Stepniewska, K; Taylor, W R J; Mayxay, M; Price, R; Smithuis, F; Guthmann, J P; Barnes, K; Myint, H Y; Adjuik, M; Olliaro, P; et al. (2004-11)
      To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.
    • In vivo parasitological measures of artemisinin susceptibility

      Stepniewska, Kasia; Ashley, Elizabeth; Lee, Sue J; Anstey, Nicholas; Barnes, Karen I; Binh, Tran Quang; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Day, Nicholas P J; de Vries, Peter J; Dorsey, Grant; et al. (2010-01-19)
      Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.
    • Liposomal Amphotericin B (AmBisome) in the Treatment of Complicated Kala-Azar Under Field Conditions.

      Seaman, J; Boer, C; Wilkinson, R; de Jong, J; de Wilde, E; Sondorp, H; Davidson, R N; Medecins Sans Frontieres Holland, The Netherlands. (Published by: Infectious Diseases Society of America, 1995-07)
      An open trial of liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome [L-AmB]; Vestar, San Dimas, CA) for treatment of complicated visceral leishmaniasis was performed in Sudan. Forty-nine patients were treated, and there were six deaths (12% mortality); these were not attributed to therapy. Thirty-seven patients were selected for the trial because of (1) relapse after treatment with a combination of pentavalent antimony (Sbv) and aminosidine, (2) incomplete parasitological response to Sbv and aminosidine, or (3) severe illness. Drug regimen 1 (3 doses of 3-5 mg/kg, on days 0, 3, and 10) cured 8 (50%) of 16 patients; regimen 2 (6 doses of 3-5 mg/kg, on days 0, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 13) cured 14 (88%) of 16. For four of 10 partial responders, "rescue" therapy with L-AmB alone (3 mg/kg daily for 10 days) resulted in cure. Twelve less-unwell patients received regimen 3 (4 doses of 4-5 mg/kg, on days 0, 2, 5, and 7); seven of 11 patients evaluated (64%) were cured. The optimal regimen of L-AmB in these circumstances is administration of 4 mg/kg on days 0, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 13.
    • Liposomal amphotericin B for complicated visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) in eastern Sudan: how effective is treatment for this neglected disease?

      Salih, Niven A; van Griensven, Johan; Chappuis, François; Antierens, Annick; Mumina, Ann; Hammam, Omar; Boulle, Philippa; Alirol, Emilie; Alnour, Mubarak; Elhag, Mousab S; et al. (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014-02)
      The aim of this study was to report the patient profile and treatment outcomes, including relapses, of patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treated with liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome) in Gedaref, Sudan.
    • Liposomal amphotericin B for visceral leishmaniasis in human immunodeficiency virus-coinfected patients: 2-year treatment outcomes in Bihar, India

      Sinha, Prabhat K; van Griensven, Johan; Pandey, Krishna; Kumar, Nawin; Verma, Neena; Mahajan, Raman; Kumar, Pankaj; Kumar, Ranjeet; Das, Pradeeb; Mitra, Gaurab; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2011-10)
      Reports on treatment outcomes of visceral leishmaniasis (VL)-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection in India are lacking. To our knowledge, none have studied the efficacy of liposomal amphotericin B in VL-HIV coinfection. We report the 2-year treatment outcomes of VL-HIV-coinfected patients treated with liposomal amphotericin B followed by combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) in Bihar, India.
    • Melarsoprol Versus Eflornithine for Treating Late-stage Gambian Trypanosomiasis in the Republic of the Congo.

      Balasegaram, M; Harris, S; Checchi, F; Ghorashian, S; Hamel, C; Karunakara, U; Medecins Sans Frontieres, London, England. manica.balasigaram@london.msf.org (Published by WHO, 2006-10)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of melarsoprol and eflornithine in treating late-stage Gambian trypanosomiasis in the Republic of the Congo. METHODS: We analysed the outcomes of death during treatment and relapse within 1 year of discharge for 288 patients treated with eflornithine, 311 patients treated with the standard melarsoprol regimen and 62 patients treated with a short-course (10-day) melarsoprol regimen between April 2001 and April 2005. FINDINGS: A total of 1.7% (5/288) of patients treated with eflornithine died compared with 4.8% (15/311) of those treated with standard melarsoprol and 6.5% (4/62) of those treated with short-course melarsoprol. Patients treated with eflornithine tended to be younger and were more likely to have trypanosomes or higher white blood cell counts in their cerebrospinal fluid. The cumulated incidence of relapse among patients who attended at least one follow-up visit 1 year after discharge was 8.1% (11/136) for those treated with eflornithine, 14% (36/258) for those treated with standard melarsoprol and 15.5% (9/58) for those treated with shortcourse melarsoprol. In a multivariate analysis, when compared with eflornithine, standard melarsoprol was found to be a risk factor for both death (odds ratio (OR) = 2.87; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03-8.00) and relapse (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.22-5.03); when compared with eflornithine, short-course melarsoprol was also found to be a risk factor for death (OR = 3.90; 95% CI = 1.02-14.98) and relapse (HR = 6.65; 95% CI = 2.61-16.94). CONCLUSION: The effectiveness of melarsoprol treatment appears to have diminished. Eflornithine seems to be a better first-line therapy for treating late-stage Gambian trypanosomiasis in the Republic of the Congo.
    • Molecular genotyping in a malaria treatment trial in Uganda - unexpected high rate of new infections within 2 weeks after treatment.

      Mugittu, K; Priotto, G; Guthmann, J P; Kiguli, J; Adjuik, M; Snounou, G; Beck, H P; Mshinda, H; Olliaro, P; Taylor, W R J; et al. (2007-02)
      Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping of malaria parasites in drug efficacy trials helps differentiate reinfections from recrudescences. A combination therapy trial of one (n = 115) or three (n = 117) days artesunate (1AS, 3AS 4 mg/kg/day) plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) vs. SP alone (n = 153) was conducted in Mbarara, a mesoendemic area of western Uganda. All paired recurrent Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemias on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 post-treatment were genotyped by PCR amplification and analysis of glutamate-rich protein (glurp) and merozoite surface proteins (msp) 1 and 2 genes to distinguish recrudescent from new infections. A total of 156 (1AS = 61, 3AS = 35, SP alone = 60) of 199 paired recurrent samples were successfully analysed and were resolved as 79 recrudescences (1AS = 32, 3AS = 8, SP = 39) and 77 as new infections (1AS = 29, 3AS = 27, SP = 21). The ratios of proportions of new to recrudescent infections were 0.2, 0.9, 1.4 and 1.9 on days 7, 14, 21 and 28, respectively (P < 0.001, chi(2) test for linear trend). Unexpected high new infection rates were observed early in follow-up on days 7 [5/26 (19.2%)] and 14 [24/51 (47.1%)]. These results impact significantly on resistance monitoring and point to the value of genotyping all recurrent infections in antimalarial trials.
    • Multidrug resistant pulmonary tuberculosis treatment regimens and patient outcomes: an individual patient data meta-analysis of 9,153 patients.

      Ahuja, S D; Ashkin, D; Avendano, M; Banerjee, R; Bauer, M; Bayona, J N; Becerra, M C; Benedetti, A; Burgos, M; Centis, R; et al. (2012-08)
      Treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is lengthy, toxic, expensive, and has generally poor outcomes. We undertook an individual patient data meta-analysis to assess the impact on outcomes of the type, number, and duration of drugs used to treat MDR-TB.
    • Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine in Dawei, southern Myanmar.

      Guthmann, J P; Pittet, A; Lesage, A; Imwong, M; Lindegardh, N; Min Lwin, M; Zaw, T; Annerberg, A; de Radiguès, X; Nosten, F; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008-01)
      OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in in Dawei District, southern Myanmar. METHODS: Enrolled patients at Sonsinphya clinic >6 months of age were assessed clinically and parasitologically every week for 28 days. To differentiate new infections from recrudescence, we genotyped pre- and post-treatment parasitaemia. Blood chloroquine was measured to confirm resistant strains. RESULTS: Between December 2002 and April 2003, 2661 patients were screened, of whom 252 were included and 235 analysed. Thirty-four per cent (95% CI: 28.1-40.6) of patients had recurrent parasitaemia and were considered treatment failures. 59.4% of these recurrences were with a different parasite strain. Two (0.8%) patients with recurrences on day 14 had chloroquine concentrations above the threshold of 100 ng/ml and were considered infected with chloroquine resistant parasites. 21% of failures occurred during the first 3 weeks of follow-up: early recurrence and median levels of blood chloroquine comparable to those of controls suggested P. vivax resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine seems to be emerging in Dawei, near the Thai-Burmese border. While chloroquine remains the first-line drug for P. vivax infections in this area of Myanmar, regular monitoring is needed to detect further development of parasite resistance.
    • A randomized open study to assess the efficacy and tolerability of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Cambodia.

      Janssens, B; Van Herp, M; Goubert, L; Chan, S; Uong, S; Nong, S; Socheat, D; Brockman, A; Ashley, E A; Van Damme, W; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007-02)
      OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP) with that of a 3-day regimen of mefloquine and artesunate (MAS3) for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Cambodia. METHOD: Randomized open-label non-inferiority study over 64 days. RESULTS: Four hundred and sixty-four patients were included in the study. The polymerase chain reaction genotyping-adjusted cure rates on day 63 were 97.5% (95% confidence interval, CI, 93.8-99.3) for DHA-PQP and 97.5% (95% CI, 93.8-99.3) for MAS3, P = 1. There were no serious adverse events, but significantly more episodes of vomiting (P = 0.03), dizziness (P = 0.002), palpitations (P = 0.04), and sleep disorders (P = 0.03) reported in the MAS3 treatment group, consistent with the side-effect profile of mefloquine. CONCLUSIONS: DHA-PQP was as efficacious as MAS3, but much better tolerated, making it more appropriate for use in a routine programme setting. This highly efficacious, safe and more affordable fixed-dose combination could become the treatment of choice for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Cambodia.
    • Relapses of Plasmodium vivax infection usually result from activation of heterologous hypnozoites.

      Imwong, M; Snounou, G; Pukrittayakamee, S; Tanomsing, N; Kim, J R; Nandy, A; Guthmann, J P; Nosten, F; Carlton, J; Looareesuwan, S; et al. (Infectious Diseases Society of America and University of Chicago Press, 2007-04-01)
      BACKGROUND: Relapses originating from hypnozoites are characteristic of Plasmodium vivax infections. Thus, reappearance of parasitemia after treatment can result from relapse, recrudescence, or reinfection. It has been assumed that parasites causing relapse would be a subset of the parasites that caused the primary infection. METHODS: Paired samples were collected before initiation of antimalarial treatment and at recurrence of parasitemia from 149 patients with vivax malaria in Thailand (n=36), where reinfection could be excluded, and during field studies in Myanmar (n=75) and India (n=38). RESULTS: Combined genetic data from 2 genotyping approaches showed that novel P. vivax populations were present in the majority of patients with recurrent infection (107 [72%] of 149 patients overall [78% of patients in Thailand, 75% of patients in Myanmar {Burma}, and 63% of patients in India]). In 61% of the Thai and Burmese patients and in 55% of the Indian patients, the recurrent infections contained none of the parasite genotypes that caused the acute infection. CONCLUSIONS: The P. vivax populations emerging from hypnozoites commonly differ from the populations that caused the acute episode. Activation of heterologous hypnozoite populations is the most common cause of first relapse in patients with vivax malaria.
    • Risk associated with asymptomatic parasitaemia occurring post-antimalarial treatment

      Olliaro, P; Pinoges, L; Checchi, F; Vaillant, M; Guthmann, J P; UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva, Switzerland. Centre for Tropical Medicine and Vaccinology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Epicentre, Paris, France. Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Centre de Recherches Publiques (CRP)-Santé, Luxembourg. (2008-01)
      OBJECTIVE: Parasites may recur asymptomatically after initial clearance by antimalarial treatment. Current guidelines recommend treatment only when patients develop symptoms or at the end of follow-up. We wanted to assess prospectively the probability of becoming symptomatic and the risks of this practice. METHODS: We analysed data collected in 13 trials of uncomplicated paediatric malaria conducted in eight sub-Saharan African countries. These studies followed all cases of post-treatment asymptomatic parasitaemia until they developed symptoms or to the end of the 28-day follow-up period, at which time parasite genotypes were compared to pre-treatment isolates to distinguish between recrudescences and new infections. RESULTS: There were 425 asymptomatic recurrences after 2576 treatments with either chloroquine, sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine or amodiaquine, of which 225 occurred by day 14 and 200 between day 15 and day 28. By day 28, 42% developed fever (median time to fever = 5 days) and 30% remained parasitaemic but afebrile, while 23% cleared their parasites (outcome unknown in 4%). Young age, parasitaemia >/=500 parasites/microl; onset of parasitaemia after day 14, and treatment with amodiaquine were the main variables associated with higher risk of developing fever. CONCLUSION: In areas of moderate to intense transmission, asymptomatic recurrences of malaria after treatment carry a substantial risk of becoming ill within a few days and should be treated as discovered. Young children are at higher risk. The higher risk carried by cases occurring in the second half of follow-up may be explained by falling residual drug levels.
    • Supervised versus unsupervised antimalarial treatment with six-dose artemether-lumefantrine: pharmacokinetic and dosage-related findings from a clinical trial in Uganda.

      Checchi, F; Piola, P; Fogg, C; Bajunirwe, F; Biraro, S; Grandesso, F; Ruzagira, E; Babigumira, J; Kigozi, I; Kiguli, J; et al. (BioMed Central, 2006)
      BACKGROUND: A six-dose antimalarial regimen of artemether-lumefantrine (A/L) may soon become one of the most widely used drug combination in Africa, despite possible constraints with adherence and poor absorption due to inadequate nutrition, and a lack of pharmacokinetic and effectiveness data. METHODS: Within a trial of supervised versus unsupervised A/L treatment in a stable Ugandan Plasmodium falciparum transmission setting, plasma lumefantrine concentrations were measured in a subset of patients on day 3 (C [lum]day3) and day 7 (C [lum]day7) post-inclusion. Predictors of lumefantrine concentrations were analysed to show how both C [lum]day7 and the weight-adjusted lumefantrine dose affect 28-day recrudescence and re-infection risks. The implications of these novel findings are discussed in terms of the emergence of lumefantrine-resistant strains in Africa. RESULTS: C [lum]day3 and C [lum]day7 distributions among 241 supervised and 238 unsupervised patients were positively skewed. Unsupervised treatment and decreasing weight-adjusted lumefantrine dose were negatively associated with C [lum]day3. Unsupervised treatment and decreasing age showed strong negative associations with C [lum]day7. Both models were poorly predictive (R-squared < 0.25). There were no recrudescences in either arm, but decreasing lumefantrine dose per Kg resulted in up to 13-fold higher adjusted risks of re-infection. Re-infections occurred only among patients with C [lum]day7 below 400 ng/mL (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Maintaining the present six-dose regimen and ensuring high adherence and intake are essential to maximize the public health benefits of this valuable drug combination.
    • The Efficacy of Chloroquine for the Treatment of Acute, Uncomplicated, Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria in Laos.

      Guthmann, J P; Kasparian, S; Phetsouvanh, R; Nathan, N; Garcia, M; Phompida, S; Brockman, A; Gastellu-Etchegorry, M; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Published by: Maney Publishing, 2002-09)
      To assess the local efficacy of chloroquine for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated, Plasmodium falciparum malaria, children and adults from Sekong province (an area of Laos with a low intensity of transmission) were tested in a 28-day, in-vivo study. Complete data were collected from 88 of the 102 subjects enrolled between October 1999 and September 2000. After genotypic analysis to distinguish recrudescing infections from re-infections, 35 (39.7%, with a 95% confidence interval of 29.5%-50.7%) of these 88 patients were considered treatment failures. These results seriously question the use of chloroquine as the first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria in the study area.
    • Treatment Outcomes and Risk Factors for Relapse in Patients with Early-stage Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) in the Republic of the Congo.

      Balasegaram, M; Harris, S; Checchi, F; Hamel, C; Karunakara, U; Medecins Sans Frontieres, London, England. manica.balasigaram@london.msf.org (Published by WHO, 2006-10)
      OBJECTIVE: In 2002-03, the Republic of the Congo increased the threshold separating stage 1 and 2 cases of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) from a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) white cell count of 5 cells/mm(3) to 10 cells/mm(3). We aimed to assess whether the increased threshold of 10 cells/mm(3) is a safe indicator of stage 2 disease. METHODS: We assessed patients treated for stage 1 HAT caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense in the Republic of the Congo between April 2001 and April 2005. Patients with 0-10 cells/mm(3) in CSF were classed as stage 1 and treated with pentamidine. Patients with CSF of > 10 cells/mm(3) were classed as stage 2 and treated with either melarsoprol or eflornithine. We did a retrospective analysis of all patients treated after the September 2002 increase in threshold for classification of HAT disease stage 2, and who were eligible for at least 1 year of follow-up. Primary outcome was survival without death or relapse within 1 year of discharge. Risk factors for treatment failure, in particular CSF white cell count on diagnosis, were assessed. FINDINGS: Between September 2002 to April 2004, 692 patients eligible for our analysis were treated with pentamidine. All were discharged alive. Relapse rate was 5% (n = 33). The only identified risk factor for relapse was a CSF white cell count of 6-10 cells/mm(3) rather than 0-5 cells/mm(3) (adjusted hazard ratio 3.27 (95% confidence interval, 1.52-7.01); P = 0.002). CONCLUSION: A threshold of 5 white cells/mm(3) in CSF is safer than 10 cells/mm(3) to determine stage 2 HAT and reduce risk of relapse.