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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1995 Oct;89(5):469-75.

Efficacy and tolerability of a sequential, artesunate suppository plus mefloquine, treatment of severe falciparum malaria.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Thirty patients with severe falciparum malaria were each given a total of 1600-mg artesunate suppository over three consecutive days followed by 1250 mg mefloquine per os, divided into two doses which were given 12 h apart. All patients were admitted for 28 days to the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases, so that the efficacy and tolerability of the treatment could be assessed. All the patients showed clinical improvement, with mean (S.D.) parasite and fever clearance times of 50.4 (13.0) and 70.7 (44.9) h, respectively. Two patients with unrousable coma (Glasgow coma score < or = 8) on admittance regained consciousness 46 and 48 h post-treatment. One other patient had acute renal failure and required dialysis. Most patients (80%) were initially hyperparasitaemic, with a mean density of 184,344 parasites/microliters blood. No deaths occurred. Efficacy was evaluated in 25 of the patients. The cure rate 28 days post-treatment was 92%. None of the patients had major adverse effects although two had tenesmus and passed stools immediately after each suppository was administered. A fresh suppository had to be inserted when this occurred. The results indicate that artesunate suppositories followed by oral mefloquine constitute a well-tolerated regimen with a high cure rate. The combination is suitable as an alternative treatment for severe malaria, particularly in children. Further, large-scale studies are required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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