New combination therapy might help treat malaria in children: study

01 January 2015

A new drug combination therapy might help treat malaria in children, according to a new study.

According to Tim Davis from University of Western Australia, artemisinin-naphthoquine drug-combo should be considered for the treatment of children with uncomplicated malaria in settings where multiple parasite species caused malaria.

Malaria, a disease spread by mosquitoes, kills around 600,000 people every year.

Several different parasite species cause malaria and in some settings, such as Papua New Guinea, two species, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, have been found to be responsible for majority of malaria infections.

However, the response of the two species to drugs currently available is not similar.

The current recommended therapy for uncomplicated malaria in children artemether-lumefantrine, in Papua New Guinea was compared with a different combination therapy, artemisinin-naphthoquine.

The randomised controlled trial study involved 186 children with Plasmodium falciparum infections and 47 children with Plasmodium vivax infections.

The study revealed that artemisinin-naphthoquine was non-inferior to (no worse than) artemether-lumefantrine in the treatment of plasmodium falciparum but was more effective for treating Plasmodium vivax.

According to the researchers, the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of three daily doses of artemisinin-naphthoquine suggested that the regimen should be considered together with other currently available effective (artemisinin combination therapies) in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in (Papua New Guinea) and similar epidemiologic settings with transmission of multiple Plasmodium species,'' researchers said.

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