Dosing accuracy of artesunate and amodiaquine as treatment for falciparum malaria in Casamance, Senegal.
Brasseur P., Agnamey P., Gaye O., Cisse M., Badiane M., Vaillant M., Taylor WRJ., Olliaro P.
OBJECTIVES: Several products of artesunate plus amodiaquine (AS + AQ) are being deployed in malaria-endemic countries for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria but dosing accuracy and consequential effects on efficacy and tolerability have not been examined. METHODS: Patients with parasitologically confirmed, uncomplicated falciparum malaria were treated and followed by research teams or local health centre staff in Casamance, Senegal. AS + AQ was given as: (i) loose combination (AS 50 mg, AQ 200 mg), dosed on body weight, or (ii) co-blistered product (AS 50 mg, AQ 153 mg) dosed by weight or age. Target doses were: (i) AS 4 (2-10) mg/kg/day and (ii) AQ 10 (7.5-15) mg/kg/day. Patients receiving therapeutic doses defined dosing accuracy. Treatment-emergent signs and symptoms (TESS) were recorded. RESULTS: A total of 3277 patients were treated with loose (n = 1972, weight-dosed) or co-blistered (n = 1305, 962 age-dosed, 343 weight-dosed) AS + AQ by the research team (n = 966) or clinic staff (n = 2311). AS was dosed correctly in >99% with all regimens. Loose AQ by weight was 98% correct. The co-blister AQ overdosed 18% of patients when dosed by age and underdosed 13% by weight. Low weight was an independent risk factor for overdosing. The co-blister had significantly more TESS than the loose product [117/1305 (9%) vs. 41/1972 (2%), relative risk = 4.3 (95% CI: 3.0-6.1, P < 0.0001)]. Age-based dosing accounted for the difference. TESS occurred mostly within one day (72%) and were mild or moderate (75%). CONCLUSION: Artesunate is easier to dose than AQ. Currently available age-dosed, co-blistered AS + AQ tends to overdose AQ and is less well tolerated than loose tablets. It is not the optimal presentation of AS + AQ.