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Clin Infect Dis. 1998 Jan;26(1):146-50.

Successful double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled field trial of azithromycin and doxycycline as prophylaxis for malaria in western Kenya.

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U.S. Army Medical Research Unit, Nairobi, Kenya.


Azithromycin prevents malaria in animal models and early clinical trials. We determined the prophylactic efficacy of three antibiotic regimens given for 10 weeks (azithromycin, 250 mg daily; azithromycin, 1,000 mg weekly; and doxycycline, 100 mg daily) relative to that of placebo for 232 adult volunteers residing in an area of intense malaria transmission. Any confirmed parasitemia during the study was considered a prophylactic failure. Two hundred thirteen volunteers (92%) completed the study. The prophylactic efficacies were as follows: daily azithromycin, 82.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 68.5%-91.1%); weekly azithromycin, 64.2% (95% CI, 47.1%-77.1%); and daily doxycycline, 92.6% (95% CI, 79.9%-97.5%). All regimens were well tolerated. We concluded that both 100 mg of doxycycline and 250 mg of azithromycin, given daily, were effective as prophylaxis for malaria in this setting. If studies with nonimmune volunteers confirm these results for semi-immune volunteers, a daily azithromycin regimen may have special utility for individuals with contraindications to treatment with doxycycline or other antimalarial agents.

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