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Bull World Health Organ. 1994;72(2):233-8.

Comparison of oral artesunate and quinine plus tetracycline in acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria.

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  • 1Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


In Thailand Plasmodium falciparum malaria is highly resistant to available antimalarials. Investigations on the efficacy of existing antimalarials and of alternative drugs are urgently needed. Artesunate has been shown to be effective against falciparum malaria, but is associated with a high recrudescence rate. We have carried out a comparative clinical trial of the standard regimen of quinine + tetracycline versus oral artesunate at a 700-mg total dose given over 5 days to patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The 64 male patients who took part in the study were randomized to receive either quinine-tetracycline (33 patients) or oral artesunate (31 patients). All the patients were admitted to the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases for 28 days. Oral artesunate had faster parasite and fever clearance times than the combination quinine-tetracycline, but the cure rate was not significantly different for the two regimens. However, the occurrence of adverse effects, such as tinnitus, was significantly higher in the quinine-tetracycline group. Surprisingly nausea and dizziness were rather common with artesunate. The possibility of neurological adverse effects for artesunate should also be borne in mind. Oral artesunate (700 mg given over 5 days) is effective and better tolerated than the combination quinine-tetracycline. The cure rate we obtained is higher than that reported in previous studies with 600 mg of oral artesunate given over 5 days. Oral artesunate can be considered as an alternative drug for multiple-drug-resistant falciparum malaria; however, adverse effects, particularly neurotoxicity, should be closely monitored before its widespread use can be recommended.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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