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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1999 Nov-Dec;93(6):637-40.

Atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride followed by primaquine for treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Thailand.

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


Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax malaria has been reported in several geographical areas. The P. vivax life-cycle includes dormant hepatic parasites (hypnozoites) that cause relapsing malaria weeks to years after initial infection. Curative therapy must therefore target both the erythrocytic and hepatic stages of infection. Between July 1997 and June 1998, we conducted an open-label study in Thailand to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a sequential regimen of combination atovaquone (1000 mg) and proguanil hydrochloride (400 mg), once daily for 3 days, followed by primaquine (30 mg daily for 14 days) for treatment of vivax malaria. All 46 patients who completed the 3-day course of atovaquone-proguanil cleared their parasitaemia within 2-6 days. During a 12-week follow-up period in 35 patients, recurrent parasitaemia occurred in 2. Both recurrent episodes occurred 8 weeks after the start of therapy, consistent with relapse from persistent hypnozoites rather than recrudescence of persistent blood-stage parasites. The dosing regimen was well tolerated. Results of this trial indicate that atovaquone-proguanil followed by primaquine is safe and effective for treatment of vivax malaria.

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