• 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; Epicentre, Paris, France. (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.
    • Adherence to the combination of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and artesunate in the Maheba refugee settlement, Zambia.

      Depoortere, E; Guthmann, J P; Sipilanyambe, N; Nkandu, E; Fermon, F; Balkan, S; Legros, D; Epicentre, Paris, France. evelyn.depoortere@msf.be (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004-01)
      Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is one strategy recommended to increase cure rates in malaria and to contain resistance to Plasmodium falciparum. In the Maheba refugee settlement, children aged 5 years or younger with a confirmed diagnosis of uncomplicated falciparum malaria are treated with the combination of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (1 day) and artesunate (3 days). To measure treatment adherence, home visits were carried out the day after the last treatment dose. Patients who had any treatment dose left were considered certainly non-adherent. Other patients' classification was based on the answers to the questionnaire: patients whose caretakers stated the child had received the treatment regimen exactly as prescribed were considered probably adherent; all other patients were considered probably non-adherent. Reasons for non-adherence were assessed. We found 21.2% (95% CI [15.0-28.4]) of the patients to be certainly non-adherent, 39.4% (95% CI [31.6-47.6]) probably non-adherent, and 39.4% (95% CI [31.6-47.6]) probably adherent. Insufficient explanation by the dispenser was identified as an important reason for non-adherence. When considering the use of ACT, the issue of patient adherence remains challenging. However, it should not be used as an argument against the introduction of ACT. For these treatment regimens to remain efficacious on a long-term basis, specific and locally adapted strategies need to be implemented to ensure completion of the treatment.
    • Efficacy and effectiveness of the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine and a 3-day course of artesunate for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in a refugee settlement in Zambia.

      Depoortere, E; Guthmann, J P; Pressé, J; Sipilanyambe, N; Nkandu, E; Balkan, S; de Pécoulas, P E; Legros, D; Epicentre, 8 rue Saint Sabin, 75011 Paris, France. evelyn.depootere@brussels.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005-02)
      In the Maheba Refugee Settlement, in the clinics supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, all children aged up to 5 years with a confirmed diagnosis of uncomplicated falciparum malaria are treated with the combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) and artesunate (AS). We compared the treatment's efficacy and effectiveness. Patients were randomized in order to receive the treatment supervised (efficacy) or unsupervised (effectiveness). Therapeutic response was determined after 28 days of follow up. The difference between recrudescence and re-infection was ascertained by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We also assessed genetic markers associated to SP resistance (dhfr and dhps). Eighty-five patients received treatment under supervision and 84 received it unsupervised. On day 28, and after PCR adjustment, efficacy was found to be 83.5% (95% CI: 74.1-90.5), and effectiveness 63.4% (95% CI: 52.6-73.3) (P < 0.01). Point mutations on dhfr (108) and dhps (437) were found for 92.0% and 44.2% respectively of the PCR samples analysed. The significant difference in therapeutic response after supervised and unsupervised treatment intake can only be explained by insufficient patient adherence. When implementing new malaria treatment policies, serious investment in ensuring patient adherence is essential to ascertain the effectiveness of the new treatment schedules.
    • 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; Kyomuhendo, J; Ferradini, L; Taylor, W R J; Guthmann, J P; Epicentre, Paris, France. francesco.checchi@lshtm.ac.uk (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.