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Ann Intern Med. 1997 Jun 15;126(12):963-72.

Mefloquine compared with doxycycline for the prophylaxis of malaria in Indonesian soldiers. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100, USA.



Mefloquine and doxycycline are the two drugs recommended for prophylaxis of malaria for visitors to areas where Plasmodium falciparum is resistant to chloroquine.


To compare the efficacy and tolerability of mefloquine with those of doxycycline as prophylaxis for malaria.


Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled field trial of chemoprophylaxis of malaria.


Northeastern Irian Jaya, Indonesia.


204 Indonesian soldiers.


After radical curative treatment, participants were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of doxycycline per day and mefloquine placebo; 250 mg of mefloquine per week (preceded by a loading dose of 250 mg/d for 3 days) and doxycycline placebo; or placebos for both drugs. Prophylaxis lasted approximately 13 weeks.


The primary end point for efficacy was the first occurrence of malaria, as documented by a positive malaria smear. Malaria smears were obtained weekly and when patients had symptoms suggesting malaria. Reported symptoms were recorded daily, and an exit study questionnaire was conducted.


In the placebo group, 53 of 69 soldiers developed malaria (9.1 person-years), resulting in an attack rate of 5.8 cases per person-year (95% CI, 4.3 to 7.7 cases per person-year). Plasmodium falciparum accounted for 57% of cases, and P. vivax accounted for 43% of cases. No malaria occurred in the 68 soldiers (16.9 person-years) in the mefloquine group; thus, the protective efficacy of mefloquine was 100% (CI, 96% to 100%). In the doxycycline group, P. falciparum malaria occurred in 1 of 67 soldiers (16.0 person-years), yielding a protective efficacy of 99% (CI, 94% to 100%). Both drugs were very well tolerated.


Mefloquine and doxycycline were both highly efficacious and well tolerated as prophylaxis of malaria in Indonesian soldiers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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