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BACKGROUND:Increasing drug resistance limits the choice of efficacious chemotherapy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa. Amodiaquine still retains efficacy against P falciparum in many African countries. We assessed the safety, treatment efficacy, and effect on gametocyte carriage of adding artesunate to amodiaquine in three randomised trials in Kenya, Sénégal, and Gabon. METHODS:We enrolled 941 children (400 in Kenya, 321 in Sénégal, and 220 in Gabon) who were 10 years or older and who had uncomplicated P falciparum malaria. Patients were randomly assigned amodiaquine (10 mg/kg per day for 3 days) plus artesunate (4 mg/kg per day for 3 days) or amodiaquine (as above) and placebo (for 3 days). The primary endpoints were parasitological cure rates at days 14 and 28. Analysis was by intention to treat and by an evaluability method. FINDINGS:Both regimens were well tolerated. Six patients in the amodiaquine-artesunate group and five in the amodiaquine group developed early, drug-induced vomiting, necessitating alternative treatment. By intention-to-treat analysis, the day-14 cure rates for amodiaquine-artesunate versus amodiaquine were: 175/192 (91%) versus 140/188 (74%) in Kenya (D=16.7% [95% CI 9.3-24.1], p<0.0001), 148/160 (93%) versus 147/157 (94%) in Sénégal (-1.1% [-6.7 to 4.5], p=0.7), and 92/94 (98%) versus 86/96 (90%) in Gabon (8.3% [1.5-15.1], p=0.02). The corresponding rates for day 28 were: 123/180 (68%) versus 75/183 (41%) in Kenya (27.3% [17.5-37.2], p<0.0001), 130/159 (82%) versus 123/156 (79%) in Sénégal (2.9% [-5.9 to 11.7], p=0.5), and 80/94 (85%) versus 70/98 (71%) in Gabon (13.7% [2.2-25.2], p=0.02). Similar rates were obtained by evaluability analysis. INTERPRETATION:The combination of artesunate and amodiaquine improved treatment efficacy in Gabon and Kenya, and was equivalent in Sénégal. Amodiaquine-artesunate is a potential combination for use in Africa. Further investigations to assess the potential effect on the evolution of drug resistance, disease transmission, and safety of amodiaquine-artesunate are warranted.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/s0140-6736(02)08348-4

Type

Journal

Lancet (London, England)

Publication Date

04/2002

Volume

359

Pages

1365 - 1372

Addresses

Navrongo Health Research Centre, Navrongo, Ghana.

Keywords

Animals, Humans, Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Falciparum, Sesquiterpenes, Artemisinins, Amodiaquine, Antimalarials, Treatment Outcome, Drug Therapy, Combination, Drug Administration Schedule, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Female, Male, Artesunate