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Bull World Health Organ. 2008 Oct;86(10):788-95.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of safety and efficacy of combined praziquantel and artemether treatment for acute schistosomiasis japonica in China.

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Hunan Institute of Parasitic Diseases, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Control on Schistosomiasis in Lake Region, Yueyang, China.



To evaluate the safety and efficacy of combining artemether (AM) and praziquantel (PZQ) in different regimens for treating acute schistosomiasis japonica.


We undertook a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial within four specialized schistosomiasis hospitals in the Dongting Lake region, Hunan province, China, between May 2003 and December 2005. Study participants were randomized into one of four treatment regimes: group A received 60 mg/kg PZQ + 6 mg/kg AM; group B received 60 mg/kg PZQ + AM placebo; group C received 120 mg/kg PZQ + 6 mg/kg AM; and group D received 120 mg/kg PZQ + AM placebo. All participants were followed up over a 45-day period. The primary endpoint of the trial was human infection status (determined by positive stool examination). Secondary endpoints involved clinical observations and blood biochemistry, including monitoring haemoglobin and alanine aminotransferase levels over time.


Treatment efficacies of the four different treatment regimens were 98.0%, 96.4%, 97.7% and 95.7% for group A, B, C, and D respectively (P > 0.05). The group B had a greater treatment efficacy (96.4%) than the group D (95.7%) (P > 0.05). Group A treatment was better for clearance of fever (P < 0.05) and resulted in a shorter hospitalization time (P < 0.05).


This is the first report of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for evaluating combined chemotherapy with AM and two different dosages (60 mg/kg and 120 mg/kg) of PZQ in the treatment of acute schistosomiasis japonica in China. The combination of AM and PZQ chemotherapy did not improve treatment efficacy compared with PZQ alone. PZQ given as a dosage of 60 mg/kg (1 day, 3 x 20 mg/kg doses at 4-5 hour intervals) may be as effective as a dosage of 120 mg/kg (6 days, 20 mg/kg for each day split into 3 doses at 4-5 hour intervals).

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