Print version ISSN 0120-4157
VASQUEZ, Ana María et al. Therapeutic efficacy of a regimen of artesunate-mefloquine-primaquine treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria and treatment effects on gametocytic development. Biomédica [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.2, pp. 307-319. ISSN 0120-4157.
Introduction. The treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria requires a safe and effective therapeutic treatment regimen, which in turn has high impact on the transmission. In 2006, an artesunate (AS)-mefloquine (MQ) treatment program was implemented in Antioquia. In addition, primaquine (PQ) was added to eliminate malaria gametocytes in the bloodstream. Objective. The efficacy and gametocytocidal activity was evaluated for two treatment regimens, AS-MQ-PQ and AS-MQ, in patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. Materials and methods. Between April 2007 and February 2008, 50 patients were recruited for the trial in Turbo, Antioquia. A randomized clinical trial was conducted. Treatment compliance was supervised, with a clinical and parasitological assessment on days 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 to evaluate response rate according to the WHO 2003 protocol. Results. Clinical response and parasite elimination efficacy of AS-MQ (with or without PQ) was 100% (95% CI 86.3%-100%), and parasitemia and fever were absent on day 3 of treatment in all patients. Gametocyte elimination was superior when PQ was used--92% (95% CI: 74%-99%) of patients who received PQ had no gametocytes on day 3, compared to 78.3% (95% CI: 59%-93%) of patients who only received AS-MQ. Furthermore, circulating gametocytes were eliminated on average one week faster when the AS-MQ-PQ treatment scheme was used compared to the scheme without PQ. Conclusion. These studies recommend the use of AS-MQ to treat P. falciparum malaria given its good therapeutic efficacy. However, further assessment is suggested concerning the benefit of adding PQ to this treatment scheme.
Keywords : P. falciparum; malaria; artesunate; mefloquine; primaquine; treatment outcome.