• 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 and safety of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine.

      Myint, H Y; Ashley, E A; Day, N P J; Nosten, F; White, N J; Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 420/6 Rajvithi Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand. (Elsevier, 2007-09)
      Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, a fixed-dose combination antimalarial, is an inexpensive, safe and highly effective treatment for uncomplicated falciparum or vivax malaria. Efficacy assessed over 28-63 days has consistently exceeded 95% in the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. More than 2600 patients have been treated with this combination in prospective studies, mainly in Southeast Asia. Tolerability was uniformly good, and no serious adverse effects have been identified. The dosing regimen has been simplified from four doses to once daily over 3 days. More information on efficacy in Africa, and more pharmacokinetic and efficacy data in children are needed.
    • Electrocardiographic safety evaluation of dihydroartemisinin piperaquine in the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria.

      Mytton, O T; Ashley, E A; Peto, L; Price, R N; La, Y; Hae, R; Singhasivanon, P; White, N J; Nosten, F; Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Mae Sot, Thailand. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2007-09)
      Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) could become a leading fixed combination malaria treatment worldwide. Although there is accumulating evidence of efficacy and safety from clinical trials, data on cardiotoxicity are limited. In two randomized controlled trials in Thailand, 56 patients had ECGs performed before treatment, 4 hours after the first dose, and 4 hours after the last dose. The mean (95% CI) changes in QTc interval (Bazett's correction) were 2 (-6 to 9) ms and 14 (7 to 21) ms, respectively. These small changes on the third day of treatment are similar to those observed elsewhere in the convalescent phase following antimalarial treatment with drugs known to have no cardiac effects and are therefore likely to result from recovery from acute malaria and not the treatment given. At therapeutic doses, DP does not have clinically significant effects on the electrocardiogram.
    • Geographical distribution of selected and putatively neutral SNPs in Southeast Asian malaria parasites.

      Anderson, T J C; Nair, S; Sudimack, D; Williams, J T; Mayxay, M; Newton, P N; Guthmann, J P; Smithuis, F M; Tran, T H; van den Broek, I; et al. (2005-12)
      Loci targeted by directional selection are expected to show elevated geographical population structure relative to neutral loci, and a flurry of recent papers have used this rationale to search for genome regions involved in adaptation. Studies of functional mutations that are known to be under selection are particularly useful for assessing the utility of this approach. Antimalarial drug treatment regimes vary considerably between countries in Southeast Asia selecting for local adaptation at parasite loci underlying resistance. We compared the population structure revealed by 10 nonsynonymous mutations (nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [nsSNPs]) in four loci that are known to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance, with patterns revealed by 10 synonymous mutations (synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [sSNPs]) in housekeeping genes or genes of unknown function in 755 Plasmodium falciparum infections collected from 13 populations in six Southeast Asian countries. Allele frequencies at known nsSNPs underlying resistance varied markedly between locations (F(ST) = 0.18-0.66), with the highest frequencies on the Thailand-Burma border and the lowest frequencies in neighboring Lao PDR. In contrast, we found weak but significant geographic structure (F(ST) = 0-0.14) for 8 of 10 sSNPs. Importantly, all 10 nsSNPs showed significantly higher F(ST) (P < 8 x 10(-5)) than simulated neutral expectations based on observed F(ST) values in the putatively neutral sSNPs. This result was unaffected by the methods used to estimate allele frequencies or the number of populations used in the simulations. Given that dense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) maps and rapid SNP assay methods are now available for P. falciparum, comparing genetic differentiation across the genome may provide a valuable aid to identifying parasite loci underlying local adaptation to drug treatment regimes or other selective forces. However, the high proportion of polymorphic sites that appear to be under balancing selection (or linked to selected sites) in the P. falciparum genome violates the central assumption that selected sites are rare, which complicates identification of outlier loci, and suggests that caution is needed when using this approach.
    • 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.
    • Malaria: current status of control, diagnosis, treatment, and a proposed agenda for research and development.

      Guerin, P J; Olliaro, P; Nosten, F; Druilhe, P; Laxminarayan, R; Binka, F; Kilama, W L; Ford, N; White, N J; Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway. philippe.guerin@fhi.no (2002-09)
      Rolling back malaria is possible. Tools are available but they are not used. Several countries deploy, as their national malaria control treatment policy, drugs that are no longer effective. New and innovative methods of vector control, diagnosis, and treatment should be developed, and work towards development of new drugs and a vaccine should receive much greater support. But the pressing need, in the face of increasing global mortality and general lack of progress in malaria control, is research into the best methods of deploying and using existing approaches, particularly insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rapid methods of diagnosis, and artemisinin-based combination treatments. Evidence on these approaches should provide national governments and international donors with the cost-benefit information that would justify much-needed increases in global support for appropriate and effective malaria control.
    • Plasmodium falciparum: sensitivity in vivo to chloroquine, pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine and mefloquine in western Myanmar.

      Smithuis, F; Monti, F; Grundl, M; Oo, A Z; Kyaw, T T; Phe, O; White, N J; Artsen Zonder Grenzen, Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland, Yangon, Myanmar, Thailand. (Elsevier, 2008-02-07)
      In Rakhine State, on the western border of Myanmar, the efficacy of chloroquine (CQ) and pyrimethamine/ sulfadoxine (PS), the current treatments for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this area, was evaluated in an open comparative study of 289 patients, stratified prospectively into 3 age groups. Chloroquine treatment was associated with more rapid clinical recovery (P = 0.03), but the overall cure rates were worse than for PS treatment; failure to clear parasitaemia or recrudescence within 14 d occurred in 72% (102/141) of cases treated with CQ compared to 47% (69/148) of those who received PS (P < 0.0001, adjusted for age). Failure rates at day 28 increased to 82% (116/141) in the CQ group and 67% (99/148) in the PS group (P = 0.003). The risk of treatment failure was significantly higher in children under 15 years old than in adults for both CQ (relative risk [RR] = 2.6; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.3-5.2) and PS (RR = 2.2; 95% CI 1.4-3.3). Mefloquine (15 mg base/kg) proved to be highly effective as a treatment for CQ and PS resistant P. falciparum; only 2 of 75 patients (3%) had early treatment failures (< or = day 7), and the overall failure rate by day 42 was 7%. There is a very high level of chloroquine and PS resistance in P.falciparum on the western border of Myanmar, but mefloquine was effective in the area.
    • Population Pharmacokinetics of Lumefantrine in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women With Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Uganda

      Kloprogge, F; Piola, P; Dhorda, M; Muwanga, S; Turyakira, E; Apinan, S; Lindegårdh, N; Nosten, F; Day, N P J; White, N J; et al. (2013)
      Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many antimalarial compounds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda after a standard fixed oral artemether-lumefantrine treatment. Dense venous (n = 26) and sparse capillary (n = 90) lumefantrine samples were drawn from pregnant patients. A total of 17 nonpregnant women contributed with dense venous lumefantrine samples. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics was best described by a flexible absorption model with multiphasic disposition. Pregnancy and body temperature had a significant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine. Simulations from the final model indicated 27% lower day 7 concentrations in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women and a decreased median time of 0.92 and 0.42 days above previously defined critical concentration cutoff values (280 and 175 ng/ml, respectively). The standard artemether-lumefantrine dose regimen in P. falciparum malaria may need reevaluation in nonimmune pregnant women.CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology (2013) 2, e83; doi:10.1038/psp.2013.59; advance online publication 13 November 2013.
    • Population Pharmacokinetics of Piperaquine after Two Different Treatment Regimens with Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine in Patients with Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Thailand.

      Tarning, J; Ashley, E A; Lindegardh, N; Stepniewska, K; Phaiphun, L; Day, N P J; McGready, R; Ashton, M; Nosten, F; White, N J; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2008-03)
      The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in adults and children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria treated with two different dosage regimens of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were characterized. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics in 98 Burmese and Karen patients aged 3 to 55 years were described by a two-compartment disposition model with first-order absorption and interindividual random variability on all parameters and were similar with the three- and four-dose regimens. Children had a lower body weight-normalized oral clearance than adults, resulting in longer terminal elimination half-lives and higher total exposure to piperaquine (area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 63 days [AUC(day 0-63)]). However, children had lower plasma concentrations in the therapeutically relevant posttreatment prophylactic period (AUC(day 3-20)) because of smaller body weight-normalized central volumes of distribution and shorter distribution half-lives. Our data lend further support to a simplified once-daily treatment regimen to improve treatment adherence and efficacy and indicate that weight-adjusted piperaquine doses in children may need to be higher than in adults.
    • 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.
    • The relationship between the haemoglobin concentration and the haematocrit in Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

      Lee, S J; Stepniewska, K; Anstey, N; Ashley, E; Barnes, K; Binh, T Q; D'Alessandro, U; Day, N; de Vries, P J; Dorsey, G; et al. (BioMed Central, 2008-08)
      BACKGROUND: Malaria is a very important cause of anaemia in tropical countries. Anaemia is assessed either by measurement of the haematocrit or the haemoglobin concentration. For comparisons across studies, it is often necessary to derive one measure from the other. METHODS: Data on patients with slide-confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria were pooled from 85 antimalarial drug trials conducted in 25 different countries, to assess the haemoglobin/haematocrit relationship at different time points in malaria. Using a linear random effects model, a conversion equation for haematocrit was derived based on 3,254 measurements from various time points (ranging from day 0 to day 63) from 1,810 patients with simultaneous measurements of both parameters. Haemoglobin was also estimated from haematocrit with the commonly used threefold conversion. RESULTS: A good fit was obtained using Haematocrit = 5.62 + 2.60 * Haemoglobin. On average, haematocrit/3 levels were slightly higher than haemoglobin measurements with a mean difference (+/- SD) of -0.69 (+/- 1.3) for children under the age of 5 (n = 1,440 measurements from 449 patients). CONCLUSION: Based on this large data set, an accurate and robust conversion factor both in acute malaria and in convalescence was obtained. The commonly used threefold conversion is also valid.
    • World Antimalarial Resistance Network I: clinical efficacy of antimalarial drugs.

      Price, R N; Dorsey, G; Ashley, E A; Barnes, K I; Baird, J K; d'Alessandro, U; Guerin, P J; Laufer, M K; Naidoo, I; Nosten, F; et al. (BioMed Central, 2007)
      The proliferation of antimalarial drug trials in the last ten years provides the opportunity to launch a concerted global surveillance effort to monitor antimalarial drug efficacy. The diversity of clinical study designs and analytical methods undermines the current ability to achieve this. The proposed World Antimalarial Resistance Network (WARN) aims to establish a comprehensive clinical database from which standardised estimates of antimalarial efficacy can be derived and monitored over time from diverse geographical and endemic regions. The emphasis of this initiative is on five key variables which define the therapeutic response. Ensuring that these data are collected at the individual patient level in a consistent format will facilitate better data management and analytical practices, and ensure that clinical data can be readily collated and made amenable for pooled analyses. Such an approach, if widely adopted will permit accurate and timely recognition of trends in drug efficacy. This will guide not only appropriate interventions to deal with established multidrug resistant strains of malaria, but also facilitate prompt action when new strains of drug resistant plasmodia first emerge. A comprehensive global database incorporating the key determinants of the clinical response with in vitro, molecular and pharmacokinetic parameters will bring together relevant data on host, drug and parasite factors that are fundamental contributors to treatment efficacy. This resource will help guide rational drug policies that optimize antimalarial drug use, in the hope that the emergence and spread of resistance to new drugs can be, if not prevented, at least delayed.