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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1998 Jan;58(1):11-6.

Comparative clinical trial of artesunate suppositories and oral artesunate in combination with mefloquine in the treatment of children with acute falciparum malaria.

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


A randomized pilot study to compare the safety and efficacy of artesunate suppositories (15 mg/kg/day for three days) versus oral artesunate (6 mg/kg/day for three days), both in combination with mefloquine (25 mg/kg), was conducted in 52 Thai children with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. Forty-five patients (87%) had a full 28-day follow-up in the hospital to assess efficacy and exclude reinfection. Mean [range] times to fever clearance of the two groups were similar (42 hr [15-104] versus 42 hr [6-119]). Artesunate suppositories resulted in significantly longer times to achieve 50% and 90% reductions of the initial parasite counts (17 and 26 hr versus 9 and 15 hr; P < 0.05 and P < 0.001). Time [range] to parasite clearance was longer in the artesunate suppositories group (42 hr [14-93] versus 35 hr [16-69]), but the difference was not significant. The cure rates by days 28 were not significantly different, 92% for artesunate suppository-treated patients and 100% for oral artesunate-treated patients. Both drug regimens are safe and effective. Further studies are needed to characterize the pharmacokinetic properties and the optimum regimen of artesunate suppositories for the treatment of severe malaria.

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