• 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.
    • Effectiveness of five artemisinin combination regimens with or without primaquine in uncomplicated falciparum malaria: an open-label randomised trial

      Smithuis, Frank; Kyaw, Moe Kyaw; Phe, Ohn; Win, Thein; Aung, Pyay Phyo; Oo, Aung Pyay Phyo; Naing, Arkar Linn; Nyo, Mya Yee; Myint, Naing Zaw Htun; Imwong, Mallika; et al. (2010-09-09)
      BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) is recommended as first-line treatment of falciparum malaria throughout the world, and fixed-dose combinations are preferred by WHO; whether a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine should be added is unknown. We aimed to compare effectiveness of four fixed-dose ACTs and a loose tablet combination of artesunate and mefloquine, and assess the addition of a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine. METHODS: In an open-label randomised trial in clinics in Rakhine state, Kachin state, and Shan state in Myanmar (Burma) between Dec 30, 2008, and March 20, 2009, we compared the effectiveness of all four WHO-recommended fixed-dose ACTs (artesunate-mefloquine, artesunate-amodiaquine, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artemether-lumefantrine) and loose artesunate-mefloquine in Burmese adults and children. Eligible patients were those who presented to the clinics with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria or mixed infection, who were older than 6 months, and who weighed more than 5 kg. Treatments were randomised in equal numbers within blocks of 50 and allocation was in sealed envelopes. All patients were also randomly assigned to receive either a single dose of primaquine 0·75 mg base/kg or not. Patients were followed up for 63 days. Treatment groups were compared by analysis of variance and multiple logistic regression. The primary outcome was the 63 day recrudescence rate. This study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT00902811. FINDINGS: 155 patients received artesunate-amodiaquine, 162 artemether-lumefantrine, 169 artesunate-mefloquine, 161 loose artesunate-mefloquine, and 161 dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. By day 63 of follow-up, 14 patients (9·4%; 95% CI 5·7-15·3%) on artesunate-amodiaquine had recrudescent P falciparum infections, a rate significantly higher than for artemether-lumefantrine (two patients; 1·4%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0013), fixed-dose artesunate-mefloquine (0 patients; 0-2·3; p<0·0001), loose artesunate-mefloquine (two patients; 1·3%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0018), and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (two patients 1·3%; 0·3-5·2%; p=0·0012). Hazard ratios for re-infection (95% CI) after artesunate-amodiaquine were 3·2 (1·3-8·0) compared with the two artesunate-mefloquine groups (p=0·01), 2·6 (1·0-6-0) compared with artemether-lumefantrine (p=0·04), and 2·3 (0·9-6·0) compared with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p=0·08). Mixed falciparum and vivax infections were common: 129 (16%) had a mixed infection at presentation and 330 (41%) patients had one or more episodes of Plasmodium vivax infection during follow-up. The addition of a single dose of primaquine (0·75 mg/kg) reduced P falciparum gametocyte carriage substantially: rate ratio 11·9 (95% CI 7·4-20·5). All regimens were well tolerated. Adverse events were reported by 599 patients, most commonly vomiting and dizziness. Other side-effects were less common and were not related to a specific treatment. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate-amodiaquine should not be used in Myanmar, because the other ACTs are substantially more effective. Artesunate-mefloquine provided the greatest post-treatment suppression of malaria. Adding a single dose of primaquine would substantially reduce transmission potential. Vivax malaria, not recurrent falciparum malaria, is the main complication after treatment of P falciparum infections in this region. FUNDING: Médecins sans Frontières (Holland) and the Wellcome Trust Mahidol University Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme.
    • 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 + 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.
    • 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.
    • A randomized trial comparing the efficacy of four treatment regimens for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Assam state, India.

      Campbell, P; Baruah, S; Narain, K; Rogers, C C; Medecins sans Frontieres-Holland, India Section, R.G. Baruah Road, Guwahati, Assam 781024, India. patricia10334@yahoo.com (Elsevier, 2006-02)
      A four-arm drug sensitivity study compared chloroquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), mefloquine and mefloquine-artesunate in Sonitpur and Karbi Anglong districts in Assam state, India. Two criteria were used to ascertain outcome: success of clinical treatment and parasitologic cure. In Sonitpur, at 14 days, there were 36/56 early and late treatment failures plus late parasitologic failures to chloroquine and 16/56 for SP. In Karbi Anglong, combined treatment failure at 14 days was 16/56 to chloroquine and 8/60 to SP. Mefloquine and mefloquine-artesunate demonstrated 93.9% and 93.6% sustained responses respectively at 42 days. High failure rates to both chloroquine and SP preclude the use of these drugs as first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in this region. A mefloquine-artesunate combination presents an effective alternative utilizing the currently recommended higher dose of mefloquine.