Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Data Regarding Safety Of Artemisinin Combination Therapy For Pregnant Women With Malaria

Date:
December 22, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A trial conducted in northwest Thailand has found that it is safe to use artemisinin combination therapy to treat pregnant women with malaria, but that efficacy is inferior to single-drug artesunate treatment.

A trial conducted in northwest Thailand has found that it is safe to use artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) to treat pregnant women with malaria, but that efficacy is inferior to single-drug artesunate treatment.

The study, published in PLoS Medicine, suggests that the ACT evaluated in the trial, artemether-lumefantrine (AL), may have lower efficacy because drug concentrations were seen to be reduced during pregnancy. The authors suggest that longer, or more frequent, regimens of the drug combination should be evaluated for treatment of pregnant women.

ACT – the combination of two antimalarial drugs to reduce the chance of malaria becoming resistant to either – is now the primary form of treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which kills nearly one million people per year. ACT may soon be the only effective treatment for malaria, given that the disease has become resistant to many of the older antimalarial drugs, and it has shown to be safe and effective in non-pregnant women. For pragmatic reasons the World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommends that ACT is also used to treat malaria in mid-late pregnancy, despite the fact that little is known about how well it works in pregnant women. This trial was conducted on the Thai-Burmese border, an area where malaria transmission is low but highly drug-resistant, meaning that pregnant women who contract the disease are at risk of developing severe malaria that can be fatal to both the mother and her unborn child.

Rose McGready, of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit in Thailand, and colleagues sought to compare the safety and efficacy of the most widely used ACT, artemether-lumefantrine (AL), with artesunate, a single artemisinin-derived drug. The 253 women enrolled in the trial had uncomplicated malaria – the stage before the patient needs treatment with intravenous drugs – and were in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Using a measure called the PCR adjusted cure rate to assess how each type of treatment cured new infections, they found that artesunate outperformed AL (89.7% compared to 81.2%), although neither course of treatment achieved the 95% cure rate recommended by the WHO. Few side effects were found with either type of treatment, and the health and development of infants at birth and at one-year of age were similar irrespective of the type of treatment their mothers received.

This is the first trial that examined the use of ACT to treat pregnant women and the finding that it is safe and well-tolerated in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy is significant and welcome. Despite the fact that ACT did not perform as well as in studies of non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria, the researchers are careful to warn that this does not mean it cannot be used to treat pregnant women effectively in other endemic regions. Low drug blood levels were observed in the women seven days after treatment, which may explain the reduced efficacy of ACT in this area of Thailand with highly drug-resistant parasites. The researchers conclude by suggesting a higher-dose ACT regimen should now be evaluated for the treatment of pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. McGready et al. A Randomised Controlled Trial of Artemether-Lumefantrine Versus Artesunate for Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Treatment in Pregnancy. PLoS Medicine, 2008; 5 (12): e253 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050253

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New Data Regarding Safety Of Artemisinin Combination Therapy For Pregnant Women With Malaria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221441.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, December 22). New Data Regarding Safety Of Artemisinin Combination Therapy For Pregnant Women With Malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221441.htm
Public Library of Science. "New Data Regarding Safety Of Artemisinin Combination Therapy For Pregnant Women With Malaria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222221441.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins