Comparing changes in haematologic parameters occurring in patients included in randomized controlled trials of artesunate-amodiaquine vs single and combination treatments of uncomplicated falciparum in sub-Saharan Africa.
Zwang J., Ndiaye J-L., Djimdé A., Dorsey G., Mårtensson A., Karema C., Olliaro P.
BACKGROUND: Artesunate-amodiaquine (AS&AQ) is a widely used artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) for falciparum malaria. A comprehensive appreciation of its effects on haematology vs other anti-malarials is needed in view of potential safety liabilities. METHODS: Individual-patient data analysis conducted on a database from seven randomized controlled trials conducted in sub-Saharan African comparing AS&AQ to reference treatments in uncomplicated falciparum malaria patients of all ages. Haematologic values (white cells total and neutrophil counts, haemoglobin/haematocrit, platelets) were analysed as both continuous and categorical variables for their occurrence, (severity grade 1-4) and changes during follow-up. Risks and trends were calculated using multivariate logistic random effect models. RESULTS: 4,502 patients (72% < 5 years old), from 13 sites in nine countries with 28-day follow-up were treated with AS&AQ (45%) or a comparator (other forms of ACT accounted for 27%, other combination 12%, mono-therapies 16%). Pre-treatment leucopaenia (3%) and neutropaenia (6%) were infrequent; anaemia was common (39%). The treatment-emergent adverse events incidence (TEAE = condition not present or less severe pre-treatment) was 11% for neutropaenia, 6% for thrombocytopaenia with AS&AQ and not different from treatment groups; anaemia was higher with AS&AQ (20%) or other forms of ACT (22%) than in non-artemisinin groups (4%, p = 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that the risk of anaemia, thrombocytopaenia, and leucopaenia decreased with follow-up time, while neutropaenia increased; the risk of anaemia and thrombocytopaenia increased with higher baseline parasitaemia and parasitological reappearance. White cells total count was not a good surrogate for neutropaenia. No systematic significant difference between treatments was detected. Older patients were at lower risks. CONCLUSION: The effects of AS&AQ on haematologic parameters were not different from those of other anti-malarial treatments used in sub-Saharan Africa. This analysis provides the basis for a broader evaluation of haematology following anti-malarial treatment. Continuing monitoring of haematologic safety on larger databases is required.