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Parasitic diseases

Alternative to standard artemisinin combination therapy identified for children with uncomplicated malaria

Researchers find the anti-malarial treatment artemisinin-naphthoquine was non-inferior to artemether-lumefantrine for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria among young children in Papua New Guinea. 

Molecular structure of Artemisinin. The World Health Organization recommends artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The World Health Organization recommends artemisinin (pictured) given as combination therapy for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria

Several Plasmodium species cause malaria and they respond differently to antimalarial drugs. In regions with drug-resistant malaria, the World Health Organization recommends artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) as first-line treatment; however, the optimal combination is unclear in regions where facilities for species-specific diagnosis are limited.

According to findings reported in PLOS Medicine[1] (online, 30 December 2014), artemisinin-naphthoquine (three daily doses) is a viable alternative to the current standard of care – artemether-lumefantrine (six doses over three days) – in children with uncomplicated malaria in Papua New Guinea. The experimental combination was non-inferior to artemether-lumefantrine against falciparum malaria and significantly more effective against vivax malaria.

“Artemisinin-naphthoquine should be considered alongside other ACTs for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in regions where there is transmission of multiple Plasmodium species,” say the researchers.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067541

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