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Acta Trop. 2002 Apr;82(1):61-6.

Efficacy of artesunate and praziquantel in Schistosoma haematobium infected schoolchildren.

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Région Médicale de Saint Louis, Programme ESPOIR, Saint Louis, Senegal.


Praziquantel is the current mainstay for morbidity control of schistosomiasis. Artemisinin and its derivatives, widely used for the treatment of malaria, also display antischistosomal properties. The present study is an effort to assess the therapeutic efficacy of artesunate, an artemisinin derivative, in Schistosoma haematobium infections in a human population. The efficacy of artesunate and praziquantel were comparatively studied in primary schoolchildren from two villages, Lampsar (n=180) and Makhana (n=108), located along the Lampsar river in the delta of the Senegal River Basin in Northern Senegal (West Africa). In each village, half of the infected children were treated with a single oral dose of 40 mg/kg praziquantel and half with artesunate following the recommended malaria monotherapy regimen. For both drugs, cure and egg count reduction rates were, without apparent explanation, higher in Makhana than in Lampsar. In both villages, high and nearly comparable egg count reduction rates were obtained with both drugs at each follow-up after treatment (5, 12 and 24 weeks) in the heavy infected group of children (>50 eggs/10 ml of urine). No major adverse effects were observed. The results demonstrate that artesunate is effective against S. haematobium, but the results obtained with praziquantel were consistently better.

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