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J Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;191(1):109-16. Epub 2004 Nov 29.

Comparison of intermittent preventive treatment with chemoprophylaxis for the prevention of malaria during pregnancy in Mali.

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  • 1Malaria Research and Training Center, Department of Epidemiology and Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali.



Malaria during pregnancy contributes to maternal anemia and low birth weight. In East Africa, several studies have demonstrated that intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is more efficacious than weekly chloroquine (CQ) chemoprophylaxis in preventing these adverse consequences. To our knowledge, there are no published trials evaluating IPT in West Africa.


We undertook a randomized controlled trial of weekly CQ chemoprophylaxis, 2-dose IPT with CQ, and 2-dose IPT with SP; 1163 women were enrolled.


In multivariate analyses, when compared with weekly CQ, IPT/SP was associated with a reduction in third-trimester anemia (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.49; P<.001), placental parasitemia (AOR, 0.69; P=.04), and low birth weight (<2500 g) (AOR, 0.69; P=.04). The prevalence of placental infection remained unexpectedly high, even in the IPT/SP group (24.5%), possibly because of the intensity of seasonal transmission. There were no significant differences in stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, or neonatal deaths among the 3 groups.


In Mali, IPT with SP appears more efficacious than weekly chloroquine chemoprophylaxis in preventing malaria during pregnancy. These data support World Health Organization recommendations to administer at least 2 doses of IPT during pregnancy. In intensely seasonal transmission settings in Mali, >2 doses may be required to prevent placental reinfection prior to delivery.

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