Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001 Jul-Aug;95(4):424-8.

The safety of the combination artesunate and pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine given during pregnancy.

Author information

Medical Research Council Laboratories, Farafenni Field Station, P. O. Box 273, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa.


Malaria during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of severe anaemia and low-birthweight babies. Effective intermittent therapy with pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine (PSD) decreases parasitaemia and severe anaemia and improves birthweight in areas where Plasmodium falciparum is sensitive to this drug. Increasing resistance to PSD is a concern and alternative antimalarial regimens during pregnancy are needed. Artesunate with PSD is a promising antimalarial combination but few data are available on the safety of artemisinins when taken during pregnancy. Outcome of pregnancy was evaluated for 287 women in The Gambia who were exposed in June 1999 to a single dose of the combination artesunate and PSD during a mass drug administration and 172 women who were not exposed. Women who received placebo (40) and those who did not participate in the mass drug administration (132) comprised the non-exposed group. There was no difference in the proportion of abortions, stillbirths, or infant deaths among those exposed or not exposed to the drugs. The mean weight of 18 infants born to mothers who had received artesunate and PSD during the third trimester was 3.10 kg compared to a mean weight of 2.62 kg of the 10 infants of untreated mothers (adjusted P value = 0.05). We found no evidence of a teratogenic or otherwise harmful effect of gestational exposure to artesunate and PSD. Treatment of a self-selected group of pregnant women with PSD and artesunate during pregnancy was associated with a greater birthweight, which may have resulted from clearance of malaria parasites. However, the influence of confounding factors cannot be excluded.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center