Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rectal artesunate is probably beneficial in young children with severe malaria, but may be harmful in older children and adults

Date:
May 30, 2014
Source:
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Summary:
An independent review of the effects of pre-referral rectal artesunate for people with severe malaria provides some insight into its best uses and effectiveness. Severe malaria is a serious medical condition that is treated by giving injections of antimalarial drugs, which need to be started as quickly as possible. In some rural areas where malaria is common, injections are unavailable and people often die before reaching hospital. In these areas rectal artesunate could feasibly be administered to start treatment before transporting the patient.

Researchers from the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, hosted at LSTM, conducted an independent review of the effects of pre-referral rectal artesunate for people with severe malaria, published in the Cochrane Library today.

Related Articles


The review follows a large trial of rectal artesunate in 2009 which led the World Health Organization to recommend its use.

Severe malaria is a serious medical condition caused by infection with the Plasmodium parasite. It is treated by giving injections of antimalarial drugs, which need to be started as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of death and brain damage. In some rural areas where malaria is common, injections are unavailable and people often die before reaching hospital. In these areas rectal artesunate could feasibly be administered by volunteers without formal healthcare training, to start treatment before transporting the patient.

The Cochrane review authors searched extensively for other trials, but only the single trial from 2009 directly assessed pre-referral treatment. This trial enrolled over 17,000 patients at various sites across Ghana, Tanzania and Bangladesh, and trained village volunteers to recognize the symptoms of severe malaria, administer rectal artesunate, and refer all patients to hospital.

At the African sites, only children aged 6 to 72 months were enrolled and there were fewer deaths with rectal artesunate than with placebo. This expected finding was replicated in Asia, but complicated by the unexpected finding of more deaths with artesunate in older children (aged >72 months) and adults. The trial was well designed to minimize bias, but the number of deaths in the older age group was very low.

Consequently, there is the possibility that this finding occurred by chance but without further trials neither the trial authors, nor the review authors were able to reliably explain this finding.

Joseph Okebe, the lead author of the review said: "In rural areas without access to injectable antimalarials rectal artesunate probably reduces deaths in young children. However, the low quality evidence that it is harmful in older children and adults must be taken into account when formulating national policies on pre-referral treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John Norrie, Joseph U Okebe, Michael Eisenhut. Pre-referral rectal artesunate for severe malaria. Cochrane Library, May 2014 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009964

Cite This Page:

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. "Rectal artesunate is probably beneficial in young children with severe malaria, but may be harmful in older children and adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140530092403.htm>.
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. (2014, May 30). Rectal artesunate is probably beneficial in young children with severe malaria, but may be harmful in older children and adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140530092403.htm
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. "Rectal artesunate is probably beneficial in young children with severe malaria, but may be harmful in older children and adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140530092403.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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