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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 Aug;13(12):1719-36. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.703651. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnant women and infants: making best use of the available evidence.

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University of Barcelona, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona Centre for International Health Research, Roselló, 132, 08036, Barcelona, Spain.



Malaria continues to represent a huge global health burden on the most vulnerable populations. The Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) strategy has been shown to be an efficacious intervention in preventing most of the deleterious effects of malaria in pregnant women and infants. Yet, the effectiveness of the IPT strategy may be impaired by the increasing resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), and the scarcity of alternative antimalarial drugs.


This review examines all the available information on IPT, in an aim to provide the scientific community with a framework to understand the benefits and limitations of this malaria control strategy. It includes the understanding of the historical background of the IPT strategy, the drug's mechanisms of actions, updated information on current available evidence, the implications of drug resistance and choice of alternative drugs, and a comprehensive discussion on the perspectives of IPT for malaria control in pregnant women and infants.


IPT in pregnancy and infants is a cost-effective strategy that can contribute significantly to the control of malaria in endemic areas. Monitoring its effectiveness will allow tracking of progress, evaluation of the adequacy of currently used drugs and will highlight the eventual need for new therapies or alternative interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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