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Acta Trop. 1994 Jun;57(1):47-53.

Randomised trial of mefloquine-tetracycline and quinine-tetracycline for acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria.

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


The combination of mefloquine plus tetracycline was compared with quinine plus tetracycline in a randomised therapeutic trial in 102 patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Thailand. Quinine plus tetracycline is considered the standard treatment for the highly drug-resistant strains of P. falciparum found in this area. Fifty patients received mefloquine (750 mg given immediately, followed by 500 mg 6 h later) with tetracycline and 52 patients received quinine (600 mg every 8 h for seven days) with tetracycline. Tetracycline was administered to both groups in doses of 250 mg four times daily. All patients were admitted to the hospital for 28 days to exclude re-infection. Ninety-three patients completed the study; nine patients left prior to completion of follow-up for reasons unrelated to their treatment. Cure rates for the two groups were 94% (44/47) for mefloquine plus tetracycline and 98% (45/46) for quinine plus tetracycline. Parasite and fever clearance times were shorter for the group treated with mefloquine but the differences were not statistically significant. Nearly all patients (94%) treated with quinine developed cinchonism compared with only 12% treated with mefloquine; all other symptoms following treatment were similar. Thirteen patients (26%) treated with quinine also developed delayed primary attacks of P. vivax during the follow-up period; none developed in the patients treated with mefloquine. These results support the contention that the combination of mefloquine plus tetracycline is equally effective and less toxic than quinine plus tetracycline for treatment of acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in areas requiring combination therapy for drug resistance.

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