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Artemisinin-based combination therapy for treating uncomplicated malaria (Review)

Sinclair, David, Zani, B., Donegan, Sarah, Olliaro, P. and Garner, Paul ORCID: (2009) 'Artemisinin-based combination therapy for treating uncomplicated malaria (Review)'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3, CD007483.

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The World Health Organization recommends uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria is treated using Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT). This review aims to assist the decision making of malaria control programmes by providing an overview of the relative benefits and harms of the available options. Objectives To compare the effects of ACTs with other available ACT and non-ACT combinations for treating uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria.

Search strategy

We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); MEDLINE; EMBASE; LILACS, and the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) to March 2009.

Selection criteria

Randomized head to head trials of ACTs in uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. This review is limited to: dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine; artesunate plus mefloquine; artemether-lumefantrine (six doses); artesunate plus amodiaquine; artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors independently assessed trials for eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data. We analysed primary outcomes in line with the WHO 'Protocol for assessing and monitoring antimalarial drug efficacy' and compared drugs using risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Secondary outcomes were effects on P. vivax, gametocytes, haemoglobin, and adverse events.

Main results

Fifty studiesmet the inclusion criteria. All five ACTs achieved PCR adjusted failure rates of <10%, in line with WHO recommendations, at most study sites. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine performed well compared to the ACTs in current use (PCR adjusted treatment failure versus artesunate plus mefloquine in Asia; RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.79; three trials, 1062 participants; versus artemether-lumefantrine in Africa; RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.64; three trials, 1136 participants). ACTs were superior to amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in East Africa (PCR adjusted treatment failure versus artemether-lumefantrine; RR 0.12, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.24; two trials, 618 participants; versus AS+AQ; RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.89; three trials, 1515 participants). Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (RR 0.32, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.43; four trials, 1442 participants) and artesunate plus mefloquine (RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.41; four trials, 1003 participants) were more effective than artemether-lumefantrine at reducing the incidence of P. vivax over 42 days follow up.

Authors' conclusions

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is another effective first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria. The performance of the non-ACT (amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) falls below WHO recommendations for first-line therapy in parts of Africa. In areas where primaquine is not being used for radical cure of P. vivax, ACTs with long half-lives may provide some benefit.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This review is published as a Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Cochrane Reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to comments and criticisms, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews should be consulted for the most recent version of the Review.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cohcrane Review CD007483, Malaria, Artemisinin, Combination therapy, ACT
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 770 Therapy
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 256 Antimalarials
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > International Health Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Faye Moody
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2010 08:57
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 10:14


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