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Clin Ther. 1999 May;21(5):841-52.

Atovaquone and proguanil versus pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine for the treatment of acute falciparum malaria in Zambia.

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  • 1Tropical Diseases Research Centre, Ndola, Zambia, Africa.


Atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride are blood schizonticides that demonstrate in vitro synergy against drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum. When coadministered, they may therefore be effective for the treatment of malaria in regions where there is known or suspected drug resistance. In an open-label, randomized, parallel-group, clinical trial conducted in Zambia, 163 patients (age range, 14 to 54 years) with acute P falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to receive treatment with atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride (1000 and 400 mg, respectively, administered orally at 24-hour intervals for 3 doses; n = 82) or pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine (75/1500 mg administered orally as a single dose; n = 81). Efficacy was assessed by cure rate (the percentage of patients in whom parasitemia was eliminated and did not recur during 28 days of follow-up), parasite clearance time (PCT), and fever clearance time (FCT). Safety was determined by sequential clinical and laboratory assessments over 28 days. Cure rates did not differ significantly between patients treated with atovaquone and proguanil (100%) and those treated with pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine (98.8%). Patients in the atovaquone and proguanil group had a significantly shorter FCT than patients in the pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine group (mean, 30.4 vs 44.9 hours; P < 0.05) but a longer PCT (mean, 64.0 vs 51.4 hours; P < 0.05). Both treatments were well tolerated; adverse events and laboratory abnormalities were typical of those normally observed in patients with malaria. In this study, the combination of atovaquone and proguanil was equally effective and as well tolerated as pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated, drug-resistant falciparum malaria in Zambia.

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