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Medication safety

Anti-malarial drug mefloquine can be taken by pregnant women

Researchers find no differences between infants exposed to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine or mefloquine with regards to morbidity and mortality.

Close up of the Anopheles mosquito, a vector for the malaria parasite, feeding on a human

Source: CDC / James Gathany

Malaria prevention during pregnancy is usually achieved with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, but mefloquine could be a viable alternative 

The World Health Organization recommends sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) for malaria prevention in pregnancy. But with increasing resistance to the drug in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers need to know if alternative drug mefloquine (MQ) impacts infant health during pregnancy. 

Researchers carried out a randomised trial in four sub-Saharan countries in which they assessed infants whose mothers received SP (n=1,432) or MQ (n=2,815) during pregnancy. 

At one, nine and twelve months old, there was no significant difference between the two groups of infants with regards to nutrition and morbidity or mortality. With the exception of the nine-month age group, psychomotor development was also comparable between the groups. 

Writing in PLoS Medicine (online, 23 February 2016)[1], the researchers say their findings are particularly important as MQ is recommended for malaria prophylaxis in pregnant women travelling to malaria-endemic countries.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20200836

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  • Close up of the Anopheles mosquito, a vector for the malaria parasite, feeding on a human

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