• Adherence to a Six-Dose Regimen of Artemether-Lumefantrine for Treatment of Uncomplicated Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria in Uganda.

      Fogg, C; Bajunirwe, F; Piola, P; Biraro, S; Checchi, F; Kiguli, J; Namiiro, P; Musabe, J; Kyomugisha, A; Guthmann, J P; et al. (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2004-11)
      Measuring baseline levels of adherence and identifying risk factors for non-adherence are important steps before the introduction of new antimalarials. In Mbarara in southwestern Uganda, we assessed adherence to artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) in its latest World Health Organization blister formulation. Patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were prescribed artemether-lumefantrine and received an explanation of how to take the following five doses at home. A tablet count was made and a questionnaire was completed during a home visit. Among 210 analyzable patients, 21 (10.0%) were definitely or probably non-adherent, whereas 189 (90.0%) were probably adherent. Age group was not associated with adherence. Lack of formal education was the only factor associated with non-adherence after controlling for confounders (odds ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-9.7). Mean lumefantrine blood levels were lower among non-adherent (n = 16) (2.76 microg/mL, 95% CI = 1.06-4.45) than among adherent (n = 171) (3.19 microg/mL, 95% CI = 2.84-3.54) patients, but this difference was not statistically significant. The high adherence to artemether-lumefantrine found in our study suggest that this drug is likely to be very effective in Mbarara provided that patients receive clear dosage explanations.
    • Antimalarial efficacy of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, amodiaquine and a combination of chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in Bundi Bugyo, western Uganda.

      Checchi, F; Piola, P; Kosack, C; Ardizzoni, E; Klarkowski, D; Kwezi, E; Priotto, G; Balkan, S; Bakyaita, N; Brockman, A; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-04)
      We report below an in vivo antimalarial efficacy study conducted in 2002 in Bundi Bugyo, a district of western Uganda housing a large displaced population. We tested sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), amodiaquine (AQ) and the combination chloroquine plus SP (CQ + SP). A total of 268 children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were followed-up for 28 days according to WHO recommendations, with PCR genotyping to distinguish late recrudescences from re-infections. PCR-adjusted failure proportions at day 28 were 37.0% (34/92, 95% CI 27.1-47.7) in the SP group, 20.6% (14/68, 95% CI 11.7-32.1) in the AQ group and 22.8% (18/79, 95% CI 14.1-33.6) in the CQ + SP group. Early failures were particularly frequent in the SP group (15.2%). Clearance of gametocytes was slower in the SP and CQ + SP groups than in the AQ group. This study suggests that, in Bundi Bugyo, CQ + SP (Uganda's first-line regimen) will need to be replaced by a more efficacious regimen. Across Uganda, the deployment of SP containing combinations may not be a feasible long-term strategy. For Bundi Bugyo, we recommend a combination of artesunate and AQ. Our study also confirms previous findings that resistance is considerably underestimated by 14-day follow-ups. Antimalarial policy decisions should therefore be based on 28-day studies, with PCR adjustment to distinguish re-infections.
    • Artemether-lumefantrine dosing for malaria treatment in young children and pregnant women: A pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic meta-analysis

      Kloprogge, F; Workman, L; Borrmann, S; Tékété, M; Lefèvre, G; Hamed, K; Piola, P; Ursing, J; Kofoed, PE; Mårtensson, A; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2018-06)
      The fixed dose combination of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) is the most widely used treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Relatively lower cure rates and lumefantrine levels have been reported in young children and in pregnant women during their second and third trimester. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of lumefantrine and the pharmacokinetic properties of its metabolite, desbutyl-lumefantrine, in order to inform optimal dosing regimens in all patient populations.
    • Assessing antimalarial efficacy in a time of change to artemisinin-based combination therapies: The role of Médecins Sans Frontières

      Guthmann, J P; Checchi, F; van den Broek, I; Balkan, S; Van Herp, M; Comte, E; Bernal, O; Kindermans, J M; Venis, S; Legros, D; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2008-08-05)
    • Community coverage of an antimalarial combination of artesunate and amodiaquine in Makamba Province, Burundi, nine months after its introduction.

      Gerstl, S; Cohuet, S; Edoh, K; Brasher, C; Lesage, A; Guthmann, J P; Checchi, F; Epicentre, Paris, France. sibylle.gerstl@epicentre.msf.org (BioMed Central, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: In 2003, artesunate-amodiaquine (AS+AQ) was introduced as the new first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Burundi. After confirmed diagnosis, treatment was delivered at subsidized prices in public health centres. Nine months after its implementation a study was carried out to assess whether children below five years of age with uncomplicated malaria were actually receiving AS+AQ. METHODS: A community-based study was conducted in Makamba province. Randomly selected households containing one or more children under five with reported fever onset within fourteen days before the study date were eligible. Case-management information was collected based on caregiver recall. A case definition of symptomatic malaria from observations of children presenting a confirmed malaria episode on the day of the survey was developed. Based on this definition, those children who had probable malaria among those with fever onset in the 14 days prior to the study were identified retrospectively. Treatment coverage with AS+AQ was then estimated among these probable malaria cases. RESULTS: Out of 195 children with fever on the day of the study, 92 were confirmed as true malaria cases and 103 tested negative. The combination of 'loss of appetite', 'sweating', 'shivering' and 'intermittent fever' yielded the highest possible positive predictive value, and was chosen as the case definition of malaria. Out of 526 children who had had fever 14 days prior to the survey, 165 (31.4%) were defined as probable malaria cases using this definition. Among them, 20 (14.1%) had been treated with AS+AQ, 10 with quinine (5%), 68 (41%) received non-malaria treatments, and 67 got traditional treatment or nothing (39.9%). Most people sought treatment from public health centres (23/99) followed by private clinics (15/99, 14.1%). The median price paid for AS+AQ was 0.5 US$. CONCLUSION: AS+AQ was the most common treatment for patients with probable malaria at public health centres, but coverage was low due to low health centre utilisation and apparently inappropriate prescribing. In addition, AS+AQ was given to patients at a price ten times higher than the subsidized price. The availability and proper use of ACTs should be monitored and maximized after their introduction in order to have a significant impact on the burden of malaria.
    • Death rates from malaria epidemics, Burundi and Ethiopia.

      Guthmann, J P; Bonnet, M; Ahoua, L; Dantoine, F; Balkan, S; Van Herp, M; Tamrat, A; Legros, D; Brown, V; Checchi, F; et al. (2007-01)
      Death rates exceeded emergency thresholds at 4 sites during epidemics of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Burundi (2000-2001) and in Ethiopia (2003-2004). Deaths likely from malaria ranged from 1,000 to 8,900, depending on site, and accounted for 52% to 78% of total deaths. Earlier detection of malaria and better case management are needed.
    • Different methodological approaches to the assessment of in vivo efficacy of three artemisinin-based combination antimalarial treatments for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in African children.

      Ashley, E A; Pinoges, L; Turyakira, E; Dorsey, G; Checchi, F; Bukirwa, H; van den Broek, I; Zongo, I; Urruta, P P P; van Herp, M; et al. (2008-08-09)
      BACKGROUND: Use of different methods for assessing the efficacy of artemisinin-based combination antimalarial treatments (ACTs) will result in different estimates being reported, with implications for changes in treatment policy. METHODS: Data from different in vivo studies of ACT treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria were combined in a single database. Efficacy at day 28 corrected by PCR genotyping was estimated using four methods. In the first two methods, failure rates were calculated as proportions with either (1a) reinfections excluded from the analysis (standard WHO per-protocol analysis) or (1b) reinfections considered as treatment successes. In the second two methods, failure rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product limit formula using either (2a) WHO (2001) definitions of failure, or (2b) failure defined using parasitological criteria only. RESULTS: Data analysed represented 2926 patients from 17 studies in nine African countries. Three ACTs were studied: artesunate-amodiaquine (AS+AQ, N = 1702), artesunate-sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS+SP, N = 706) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL, N = 518).Using method (1a), the day 28 failure rates ranged from 0% to 39.3% for AS+AQ treatment, from 1.0% to 33.3% for AS+SP treatment and from 0% to 3.3% for AL treatment. The median [range] difference in point estimates between method 1a (reference) and the others were: (i) method 1b = 1.3% [0 to 24.8], (ii) method 2a = 1.1% [0 to 21.5], and (iii) method 2b = 0% [-38 to 19.3].The standard per-protocol method (1a) tended to overestimate the risk of failure when compared to alternative methods using the same endpoint definitions (methods 1b and 2a). It either overestimated or underestimated the risk when endpoints based on parasitological rather than clinical criteria were applied. The standard method was also associated with a 34% reduction in the number of patients evaluated compared to the number of patients enrolled. Only 2% of the sample size was lost when failures were classified on the first day of parasite recurrence and survival analytical methods were used. CONCLUSION: The primary purpose of an in vivo study should be to provide a precise estimate of the risk of antimalarial treatment failure due to drug resistance. Use of survival analysis is the most appropriate way to estimate failure rates with parasitological recurrence classified as treatment failure on the day it occurs.
    • Efficacy of two artemisinin combination therapies for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in children under 5 years, Malakal, Upper Nile, Sudan.

      van den Broek, I; Amsalu, R; Balasegaram, M; Hepple, P; Alemu, E; Hussein, E B; Al-Faith, M; Montgomery, J; Checchi, F; Manson's Unit, MSF -UK, 67-74 Saffron Hill, London EC1N, UK. ingrid.van.den.broek@london.msf.org (BioMed Central, 2005)
      BACKGROUND: The treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sudan has been in process of change since 2003. Preceding the change, this study aimed to determine which artemisinin-based combination therapies is more effective to treat uncomplicated malaria in Malakal, Upper Nile, Sudan. METHODS: Clinical trial to assess the efficacy of 2 antimalarial therapies to treat P. falciparum infections in children aged 6-59 months, in a period of 42 days after treatment. RESULTS: A total of 269 children were followed up to 42 days. Artesunate plus Sulfadoxine/Pyrimethamine (AS+SP) and Artesunate plus Amodiaquine (AS+AQ) were both found to be efficacious in curing malaria infections by rapid elimination of parasites and clearance of fever, in preventing recrudescence and suppressing gametocytaemia. The combination of AS+SP appeared slightly more efficacious than AS+AQ, with 4.4% (4/116) versus 15% (17/113) of patients returning with malaria during the 6-week period after treatment (RR = 0.9, 95% CI 0.81-0.96). PCR analysis identified only one recrudescence which, together with one other early treatment failure, gave efficacy rates of 99.0% for AS+AQ (96/97) and 99.1% for AS+SP (112/113). However, PCR results were incomplete and assuming part of the indeterminate samples were recrudescent infections leads to an estimated efficacy ranging 97-98% for AS+SP and 88-95% for AS+AQ. CONCLUSION: These results lead to the recommendation of ACT, and specifically AS+SP, for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in this area of Sudan. When implemented, ACT efficacy should be monitored in sentinel sites representing different areas of the country.
    • Evidence basis for antimalarial policy change in Sierra Leone: five in vivo efficacy studies of chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine.

      Checchi, F; Roddy, P; Kamara, S; Williams, A; Morineau, G; Wurie, A R; Hora, B; Lamotte, N; Baerwaldt, T; Heinzelmann, A; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-02)
      OBJECTIVES: To provide nationally relevant information on the antimalarial efficacy of chloroquine (CQ), sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) in Sierra Leone, with a view to updating antimalarial policy in the country. METHODS: Between October 2002 and May 2003, standard WHO methodology for in vivo efficacy assessment was used in five sites to study the therapeutic response of 6-59 months old uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases treated with CQ (n = 247), SP (n = 353) or AQ (n = 434). Follow-up was of 28 days, with polymerase chain reaction genotyping to distinguish late recrudescences from re-infections. RESULTS: Overall 85.3% of patients reached an analysable endpoint. CQ failure proportions were very high, ranging from 39.5% (95% CI: 25.0-55.6) in Kabala to 78.8% (65.3-88.9) in Kailahun. Early failures under CQ were frequent. SP efficacy was also disappointing, with failure from 23.2% (13.9-34.9) in Kabala to 46.1% (35.4-57.0) in Kailahun. AQ resistance was more moderate, ranging from 5.4% (1.8-12.1) in Makeni to 29.8% (20.3-40.8) in Kailahun, with almost no early failures. AQ also provided more rapid fever and parasite clearance. CONCLUSION: In a consensus meeting organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and based on these findings, artesunate (AS) + AQ and artemether-lumefantrine (Coartemtrade mark) were identified as the only options to rapidly replace CQ. The choice fell on AS + AQ because of expected high efficacy, lower cost in a blister presentation, and the absence of safety data on artemether-lumefantrine in pregnancy. Donor support is required to support this policy change. Throughout Africa, as SP resistance increases, these two regimens are probably the only options available while newer combinations are developed. Efficacy studies should focus on testing AQ and AS + AQ.
    • Low efficacy of the combination artesunate plus amodiaquine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria among children under 5 years in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

      Grandesso, F; Hagerman, A; Kamara, S; Lam, E; Checchi, F; Balkan, S; Scollo, G; Durand, R; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-07)
      OBJECTIVE: In 2004, Sierra Leone adopted artesunate plus amodiaquine as first-line antimalarial treatment. We evaluated the efficacy of this combination in Kailahun, where a previous study had shown 70.2% efficacy of amodiaquine in monotherapy. METHODS: Method and outcome classification of the study complied with WHO guidelines. Children 6-59 months with uncomplicated malaria were followed-up for 28 days. PCR genotyping was used to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. Reinfections were reclassified as cured. RESULTS: Of 172 children who were referred to the study clinic, 126 satisfied inclusion criteria and were enrolled. No early treatment failures were reported. The day 14, efficacy was 98.2% (95% CI: 93.8-99.8). Of 65 recurrent parasitaemias analysed by PCR, 17 were recrudescences. The PCR-adjusted day 28 efficacy was 84.5% (95% CI: 76.4-90.7). All true failures occurred in the last 8 days of follow-up. Of 110 children who completed the 28-day follow-up, 54 (49.1%) experienced a novel infection. CONCLUSION: The efficacy of this combination was disappointing. The high reinfection rate suggested little prophylactic effect. In Kailahun a more efficacious combination might be necessary in the future. The efficacy of AS + AQ needs to be monitored in Kailahun and in the other regions of Sierra Leone.
    • Malaria in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan: baseline genotypic resistance and efficacy of the artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and artesunate plus amodiaquine combinations.

      Hamour, S; Melaku, Y; Keus, K; Wambugu, J; Atkin, S; Montgomery, J; Ford, N; Hook, C; Checchi, F; Médecins Sans Frontières, Plantage Middenlaan 14, 1018 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Elsevier, 2005-07)
      Both northern and southern Sudan are deploying artemisinin-based combinations against uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria (artesunate+sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine [AS+SP] in the north, artesunate+amodiaquine [AS+AQ] in the south). In 2003, we tested the efficacy of 3 day AS+SP and AS+AQ regimens in vivo in the isolated, seasonally endemic Nuba Mountains region (the first study of AS combinations in southern Sudan). We also analysed pre-treatment blood samples for mutations at the P. falciparum chloroquine transporter (Pfcrt) gene (associated with CQ resistance), and at the dihydrofolate reductase (Dhfr) gene (associated with pyrimethamine resistance). Among 161 randomized children under 5 years, PCR-corrected cure rates after 28 days were 91.2% (52/57, 95% CI 80.7-97.1) for AS+SP and 92.7% (51/55, 95% CI 82.4-98.0) for AS+AQ, with equally rapid parasite and fever clearance. The Pfcrt K76T mutation occurred in 90.0% (144/160) of infections, suggesting CQ would work poorly in this region. Overall, 82.5% (132/160) carried mutations at Dhfr (N51I, C59R or S108N, but not I164L), but triple mutants (more predictive of in vivo SP failure) were rare (3.1%). CQ use should be rapidly discontinued in this region. SP resistance may propagate rapidly, and AS+AQ is likely to be a better long-term option, provided AQ use is limited to the combination.
    • Methodological Issues in the Assessment of Antimalarial Drug Treatment: Analysis of 13 Studies in Eight African Countries from 2001 to 2004.

      Guthmann, J P; Pinoges, L; Checchi, F; Cousens, S; Balkan, S; Van Herp, M; Legros, D; Olliaro, P; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. jguthmann@epicentre.msf.org (Published by American Society for Microbiology, 2006-11)
      The objectives of these analyses were to assess the feasibility of the latest WHO recommendations (28-day follow-up with PCR genotyping) for the assessment of antimalarial drug efficacy in vivo and to examine how different statistical approaches affect results. We used individual-patient data from 13 studies of uncomplicated pediatric falciparum malaria conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, using chloroquine (CQ), sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP), or amodiaquine (AQ). We assessed the use effectiveness and test performance of PCR genotyping in distinguishing recurrent infections. In analyzing data, we compared (i) the risk of failure on target days (days 14 and 28) by using Kaplan-Meier and per-protocol evaluable patient analyses, (ii) PCR-corrected results allowing (method 1) or excluding (method 2) new infections, (iii) and day 14 versus day 28 results. Of the 2,576 patients treated, 2,287 (89%) were evaluable on day 28. Of the 695 recurrences occurring post-day 14, 650 could be processed and 584 were resolved (PCR use effectiveness, 84%; test performance, 90%). The risks of failure on day 28 with Kaplan-Meier and evaluable-patient analyses tended to be generally close (except in smaller studies) because the numbers of dropouts were minimal, but attrition rates on day 28 were higher with the latter method. Method 2 yielded higher risks of failure than method 1. Extending observation to 28 days produced higher estimated risks of failure for SP and AQ but not for CQ (high failure rates by day 14). Results support the implementation of the current WHO protocol and favor analyzing PCR-corrected outcomes by Kaplan-Meier analysis (which allows for dropouts) and retaining new infections (which minimizes losses).
    • Operational response to malaria epidemics: are rapid diagnostic tests cost-effective?

      Rolland, E; Checchi, F; Pinoges, L; Balkan, S; Guthmann, J P; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006-04)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the cost-effectiveness of malaria treatment based on presumptive diagnosis with that of malaria treatment based on rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). METHODS: We calculated direct costs (based on experience from Ethiopia and southern Sudan) and effectiveness (in terms of reduced over-treatment) of a free, decentralised treatment programme using artesunate plus amodiaquine (AS + AQ) or artemether-lumefantrine (ART-LUM) in a Plasmodium falciparum epidemic. Our main cost-effectiveness measure was the incremental cost per false positive treatment averted by RDTs. RESULTS: As malaria prevalence increases, the difference in cost between presumptive and RDT-based treatment rises. The threshold prevalence above which the RDT-based strategy becomes more expensive is 21% in the AS + AQ scenario and 55% in the ART-LUM scenario, but these thresholds increase to 58 and 70%, respectively, if the financing body tolerates an incremental cost of 1 euro per false positive averted. However, even at a high (90%) prevalence of malaria consistent with an epidemic peak, an RDT-based strategy would only cost moderately more than the presumptive strategy: +29.9% in the AS + AQ scenario and +19.4% in the ART-LUM scenario. The treatment comparison is insensitive to the age and pregnancy distribution of febrile cases, but is strongly affected by variation in non-biomedical costs. If their unit price were halved, RDTs would be more cost-effective at a malaria prevalence up to 45% in case of AS + AQ treatment and at a prevalence up to 68% in case of ART-LUM treatment. CONCLUSION: In most epidemic prevalence scenarios, RDTs would considerably reduce over-treatment for only a moderate increase in costs over presumptive diagnosis. A substantial decrease in RDT unit price would greatly increase their cost-effectiveness, and should thus be advocated. A tolerated incremental cost of 1 euro is probably justified given overall public health and financial benefits. The RDTs should be considered for malaria epidemics if logistics and human resources allow.
    • 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.
    • Supervised versus unsupervised intake of six-dose artemether-lumefantrine for treatment of acute, uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Mbarara, Uganda: a randomised trial.

      Piola, P; Fogg, C; Bajunirwe, F; Biraro, S; Grandesso, F; Ruzagira, E; Babigumira, J; Kigozi, I; Kiguli, J; Kyomuhendo, J; et al. (Elsevier, 2005-04-23)
      BACKGROUND: The six-dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine is effective and is among combination therapies prioritised to replace antimalarials that no longer work in Africa. However, its effectiveness has not been assessed in the field, and could be compromised by poor adherence, incorrect timing of doses, and insufficient intake of fatty foods with every dose. Our aim, therefore, was to assess the effectiveness of artemether-lumefantrine prescribed under routine outpatient conditions, compared with its efficacy when given under supervision to inpatients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria. METHODS: We did a randomised trial to compare the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of artemether-lumefantrine when given in a supervised (all doses observed with fatty-food intake; n=313) or unsupervised (first dose supervised followed by outpatient treatment with nutritional advice; n=644) setting to patients of all ages (weight >10 kg) with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Mbarara, Uganda. Our primary endpoint was 28 day, PCR-adjusted, parasitological cure rate. Analysis was by intention to treat and evaluability analysis. FINDINGS: 38 patients were lost to follow-up and one withdrew consent. Day-28 cure rates were 97.7% (296 of 303) and 98.0% (603 of 615) in the supervised and unsupervised groups, respectively. We recorded 15 non-severe, drug-related adverse events, all of which resolved. INTERPRETATION: Artemether-lumefantrine has a high cure rate irrespective of whether given under supervision with food or under conditions of routine clinic practice. If used as first-line treatment, artemether-lumefantrine could make a substantial contribution to malaria control in Africa, though cost is an issue.