An open, randomized trial of three-day treatment with artesunate combined with a standard dose of mefloquine divided over either two or three days, for acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria.Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2005 May; 36(3):591-6.SA
The combination of artesunate and mefloquine is currently one of the most effective treatments for multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Simultaneous, rather than sequential treatment with the two drugs, would allow better patient compliance. We therefore evaluated three-day treatment with artesunate combined with either 2 or 3 days of mefloquine co-administered once a day with artesunate. The study was an open, randomized trial for acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria and was conducted at the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases. One hundred and twenty adult patients were randomized to two treatment groups. Group 1 patients received 4 mg/kg/day of artesunate for 3 days and 3 daily doses of 8.0 mg/kg/day mefloquine given with artesunate. Group 2 patients received the same dose of artesunate and the same total dose of mefloquine (25 mg/kg). However, the mefloquine was given as 15 mg/kg on the first day and 10 mg/kg/ on the second day, again with artesunate. The baseline demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients in the two groups were similar. The cure rates for the 3-day and 2-day mefloquine regimens were 100% and 99%, respectively. There were no significant differences in either median fever clearance times (group 1=32 hours; group 2=33 hours) or mean parasite clearance times (group 1=42.3 hours; group 2=43.3 hours). Both regimens were well tolerated and there were no significant differences in the incidence of adverse effects. Nausea or vomiting occurred in 3.8% of patients in both groups and transient dizziness occurred in 4% of group 1 and 9% of group 2 patients. These results suggest that a 3-day regimen of mefloquine administered with artesunate is effective and well tolerated. This practical regimen could improve patient compliance.