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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD003756. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003756.pub3.

Chemoprophylaxis and intermittent treatment for preventing malaria in children.

Author information

1
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, PMB 1115, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. mmeremiku@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Malaria causes repeated illness in children living in endemic areas. Policies of giving antimalarial drugs at regular intervals (prophylaxis or intermittent treatment) are being considered for preschool children.

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate prophylaxis and intermittent treatment with antimalarial drugs to prevent malaria in young children living in malaria-endemic areas.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register (August 2007), CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library 2007, Issue 3), MEDLINE (1966 to August 2007), EMBASE (1974 to August 2007), LILACS (1982 to August 2007), mRCT (February 2007), and reference lists of identified trials. We also contacted researchers.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Individually randomized and cluster-randomized controlled trials comparing antimalarial drugs given at regular intervals (prophylaxis or intermittent treatment) with placebo or no drug in children aged one month to six years or less living in a malaria-endemic area.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two authors independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality. We used relative risk (RR) or weighted mean difference with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for meta-analyses. Where we detected heterogeneity and considered it appropriate to combine the trials, we used the random-effects model (REM).

MAIN RESULTS:

Twenty-one trials (19,394 participants), including six cluster-randomized trials, met the inclusion criteria. Prophylaxis or intermittent treatment with antimalarial drugs resulted in fewer clinical malaria episodes (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.74, REM; 7037 participants, 10 trials), less severe anaemia (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.94, REM; 5445 participants, 9 trials), and fewer hospital admissions for any cause (RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.82; 3722 participants, 5 trials). We did not detect a difference in the number of deaths from any cause (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.23; 7369 participants, 10 trials), but the CI do not exclude a potentially important difference. One trial reported three serious adverse events with no statistically significant difference between study groups (1070 participants). Eight trials measured morbidity and mortality six months to two years after stopping regular antimalarial drugs; overall, there was no statistically significant difference, but participant numbers were small.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Prophylaxis and intermittent treatment with antimalarial drugs reduce clinical malaria and severe anaemia in preschool children.

PMID:
18425893
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD003756.pub3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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