• Adherence to a Combination of Artemether and Lumefantrine (Coartem) in Kajo Keji, Southern Sudan.

      Depoortere, E; Salvador, E T C; Stivanello, E; Bisoffi, Z; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, 42 bis boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France. evelyn.depoortere@brussels.msf.org (Published by: Maney Publishing, 2004-09)
    • 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.
    • Artemether-Lumefantrine to treat Malaria in pregnancy is associated with reduced placental Haemozoin deposition compared to Quinine in a randomized controlled trial

      Muehlenbachs, Atis; Nabasumba, Carolyn; McGready, Rose; Turyakira, Eleanor; Tumwebaze, Benon; Dhorda, Mehul; Nyehangane, Dan; Nalusaji, Aisha; Nosten, Franois; Guerin, Philippe J; et al. (2012-05-03)
      Data on efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat Plasmodium falciparum during pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa is scarce. A recent open label, randomized controlled trial in Mbarara, Uganda demonstrated that artemether-lumefantrine (AL) is not inferior to quinine to treat uncomplicated malaria in pregnancy. Haemozoin can persist in the placenta following clearance of parasites, however there is no data whether ACT can influence the amount of haemozoin or the dynamics of haemozoin clearance.
    • Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine for treating uncomplicated malaria in African children: a randomised, non-inferiority trial

      Bassat, Quique; Mulenga, Modest; Tinto, Halidou; Piola, Patrice; Borrmann, Steffen; Menéndez, Clara; Nambozi, Michael; Valéa, Innocent; Nabasumba, Carolyn; Sasi, Philip; et al. (2009-11-17)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are currently the preferred option for treating uncomplicated malaria. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP) is a promising fixed-dose ACT with limited information on its safety and efficacy in African children. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The non-inferiority of DHA-PQP versus artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in children 6-59 months old with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria was tested in five African countries (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia). Patients were randomised (2:1) to receive either DHA-PQP or AL. Non-inferiority was assessed using a margin of -5% for the lower limit of the one-sided 97.5% confidence interval on the treatment difference (DHA-PQP vs. AL) of the day 28 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) corrected cure rate. Efficacy analysis was performed in several populations, and two of them are presented here: intention-to-treat (ITT) and enlarged per-protocol (ePP). 1553 children were randomised, 1039 receiving DHA-PQP and 514 AL. The PCR-corrected day 28 cure rate was 90.4% (ITT) and 94.7% (ePP) in the DHA-PQP group, and 90.0% (ITT) and 95.3% (ePP) in the AL group. The lower limits of the one-sided 97.5% CI of the difference between the two treatments were -2.80% and -2.96%, in the ITT and ePP populations, respectively. In the ITT population, the Kaplan-Meier estimate of the proportion of new infections up to Day 42 was 13.55% (95% CI: 11.35%-15.76%) for DHA-PQP vs 24.00% (95% CI: 20.11%-27.88%) for AL (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: DHA-PQP is as efficacious as AL in treating uncomplicated malaria in African children from different endemicity settings, and shows a comparable safety profile. The occurrence of new infections within the 42-day follow up was significantly lower in the DHA-PQP group, indicating a longer post-treatment prophylactic effect. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-trials.com ISRCTN16263443.
    • 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.
    • Efficacy of three artemisinin combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Republic of Congo.

      van den Broek, I; Kitz, C; Al Attas, S; Libama, F; Balasegaram, M; Guthmann, J P; Médecins sans Frontières, London, UK. ingrid.van.den.broek@rivm.nl <ingrid.van.den.broek@rivm.nl> (BioMed Central, 2006)
      BACKGROUND: Presented here are the results of a comparative trial on the efficacy of three artemisinin-based combinations conducted from May to October 2004, in Pool Province, Republic of Congo. METHODS: The main outcome was the proportion of cases of true treatment success at day 28. Recrudescences were distinguished from re-infections by PCR analysis. A total of 298 children of 6-59 months were randomized to receive either artesunate + SP (AS+SP), artesunate + amodiaquine (AS+AQ) or artemether + lumefantrine (AL), of which 15 (5%) were lost to follow-up. RESULTS: After 28 days, there were 21/85 (25%) recurrent parasitaemias in the AS+SP group, 31/97 (32%) in the AS+AQ group and 13/100 (13%) in the AL group. The 28-day PCR-corrected cure rate was 90.1% [95% CI 80.7-95.9] for AS+SP, 98.5% [95% CI 92.0-100] for AS+AQ and 100% [95.8-100] for AL, thereby revealing a weaker response to AS+SP than to AL (p = 0.003) and to AS+AQ (p = 0.06). A potential bias was the fact that children treated with AL were slightly older and in better clinical condition, but logistic regression did not identify these as relevant factors. There was no significant difference between groups in fever and parasite clearance time, improvement of anaemia and gametocyte carriage at day 28. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION: Considering the higher efficacy of AL as compared to AS+SP and the relatively high proportion of cases with re-infections in the AS+AQ group, we conclude that AL is clinically more effective than AS+SP and AS+AQ in this area of the Republic of Congo. Implementation of the recently chosen new national first-line AS+AQ should be monitored closely.
    • High Efficacy of Two Artemisinin-Based Combinations (Artesunate + Amodiaquine and Artemether + Lumefantrine) in Caala, Central Angola.

      Guthmann, J P; Cohuet, S; Rigutto, C; Fortes, F; Saraiva, N; Kiguli, J; Kyomuhendo, J; Francis, M; Noël, F; Mulemba, M; et al. (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2006-07)
      In April 2004, 137 children 6-59 months of age with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria (Caala, Central Angola) were randomized to receive either artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) or artesunate + amodiaquine (ASAQ). After 28 days of follow-up, there were 2/61 (3.2%) recurrent parasitemias in the Coartem group and 4/64 (6.2%) in the ASAQ group (P = 0.72), all classified as re-infections after PCR genotyping (cure rate = 100% [95%CI: 94-100] in both groups). Only one patient (ASAQ group) had gametocytes on day 28 versus five (Coartem) and three (ASAQ) at baseline. Compared with baseline, anemia was significantly improved after 28 days of follow-up in both groups (Coartem: from 54.1% to 13.4%; ASAQ: from 53.1% to 15.9%). Our findings are in favor of a high efficacy of both combinations in Caala. Now that Coartem has been chosen as the new first-line anti-malarial, the challenge is to insure that this drug is available and adequately used.
    • 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.
    • 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.