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Efficacy of chloroquine + sulfadoxine--pyrimethamine, mefloquine + artesunate and artemether + lumefantrine combination therapies to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.van den Broek, I; Maung, U A; Peters, A; Liem, L; Kamal, M; Rahman, M; Rahman, M; Bangali, A M; Das, S; Barends, M; et al. (Elsevier, 2005-10)Bangladesh faces growing levels of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Alternative antimalarial therapies, particularly combination regimens, need to be considered. Therefore, the efficacy of three antimalarial combination therapies was assessed in Chittagong Hill Tracts. A total of 364 P. falciparum patients were recruited and randomly assigned to either CQ + SP, mefloquine + artesunate (MQ + AS) or lumefantrine + artemether (Coartem). Results showed that CQ + SP therapy was less effective than the two artemisinin-based combination therapies. The day 42 PCR-corrected efficacy rate was 62.4% for CQ + SP, 100% for MQ + AS and 97.1% for Coartem. Failures occurred at a shorter interval after CQ + SP treatment than after Coartem. The artemisinin-based therapies effectively prevented development of gametocytes, whereas CQ + SP did not. All three therapies were well tolerated, although reports of mild complaints during treatment appeared higher with MQ + AS. We conclude that CQ + SP is not a viable option for replacing CQ monotherapy as first-line P. falciparum treatment in this area of Bangladesh. A change to artemisinin-based combination therapy is recommended. Both Coartem and MQ + AS appear to be good options, effective in curing P. falciparum malaria and in preventing recrudescences following treatment.