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PLoS Med. 2012;9(3):e1001195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001195. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in Papua New Guinean infants exposed to Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Erratum in

  • PLoS Med. 2012 Jun;9(6). doi:10.1371/annotation/de06fdd3-c263-416c-8b5f-291f9c474558.



Intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) has been shown in randomized trials to reduce malaria-related morbidity in African infants living in areas of high Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) transmission. It remains unclear whether IPTi is an appropriate prevention strategy in non-African settings or those co-endemic for P. vivax (Pv).


In this study, 1,121 Papua New Guinean infants were enrolled into a three-arm placebo-controlled randomized trial and assigned to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) (25 mg/kg and 1.25 mg/kg) plus amodiaquine (AQ) (10 mg/kg, 3 d, n = 374), SP plus artesunate (AS) (4 mg/kg, 3 d, n = 374), or placebo (n = 373), given at 3, 6, 9 and 12 mo. Both participants and study teams were blinded to treatment allocation. The primary end point was protective efficacy (PE) against all episodes of clinical malaria from 3 to 15 mo of age. Analysis was by modified intention to treat. The PE (compared to placebo) against clinical malaria episodes (caused by all species) was 29% (95% CI, 10-43, p ≤ 0.001) in children receiving SP-AQ and 12% (95% CI, -11 to 30, p = 0.12) in those receiving SP-AS. Efficacy was higher against Pf than Pv. In the SP-AQ group, Pf incidence was 35% (95% CI, 9-54, p = 0.012) and Pv incidence was 23% (95% CI, 0-41, p = 0.048) lower than in the placebo group. IPTi with SP-AS protected only against Pf episodes (PE = 31%, 95% CI, 4-51, p = 0.027), not against Pv episodes (PE = 6%, 95% CI, -24 to 26, p = 0.759). Number of observed adverse events/serious adverse events did not differ between treatment arms (p > 0.55). None of the serious adverse events were thought to be treatment-related, and the vomiting rate was low in both treatment groups (1.4%-2.0%). No rebound in malaria morbidity was observed for 6 mo following the intervention.


IPTi using a long half-life drug combination is efficacious for the prevention of malaria and anemia in infants living in a region highly endemic for both Pf and Pv.

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