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Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Apr 8;68(8):1311-1319. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy735.

Chloroquine Versus Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine With Standard High-dose Primaquine Given Either for 7 Days or 14 Days in Plasmodium vivax Malaria.

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Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Mae Sot, Thailand.
Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit.
Department of Molecular Tropical Medicine and Genetics, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.



Primaquine is necessary for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria, but the optimum duration of treatment and best partner drug are uncertain. A randomized controlled trial was performed to compare the tolerability and radical curative efficacy of 7-day versus 14-day high-dose primaquine regimens (total dose 7mg/kg) with either chloroquine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine.


Patients with uncomplicated P. vivax malaria on the Thailand-Myanmar border were randomized to either chloroquine (25mg base/kg) or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (dihydroartemisinin 7mg/kg and piperaquine 55mg/kg) plus primaquine, either 0.5 mg/kg/day for 14 days or 1 mg/kg/day for 7 days. Adverse events within 42 days and 1-year recurrence rates were compared and their relationship with day 6 drug concentrations assessed.


Between February 2012 and July 2014, 680 patients were enrolled. P. vivax recurrences (all after day 35) occurred in 80/654 (12%) patients; there was no difference between treatments. Compared to the 7-day primaquine groups the pooled relative risk of recurrence in the 14-day groups was 1.15 (95% confidence interval 0.7 to 1.8). Hematocrit reductions were clinically insignificant except in G6PD female heterozygotes, 2 of whom had hematocrit reductions to <23% requiring blood transfusion.


Radical cure should be deployed more widely. The radical curative efficacy in vivax malaria of 7-day high-dose primaquine is similar to the standard 14-day high-dose regimen. Chloroquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine are both highly effective treatments of the blood stage infection. Quantitative point of care G6PD testing would ensure safe use of the 7-day high-dose primaquine regimen in G6PD heterozygous females.




Plasmodium vivax ; chloroquine; dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine; primaquine; radical cure

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