Atovaquone-proguanil for recrudescent Plasmodium falciparum in Vietnam
Malarone, a fixed combination of atovaquone with proguanil (AP), has recently been recognized as a promising treatment against multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. In Vietnam, the first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria is currently a combination of mefloquine and an artemisinin derivative, and the use of AP has not been explored. The aim of the present study, based in Vietnam, was to assess the efficacy of AP when used to treat P. falciparum recrudescences that had occurred after primary treatment with mefloquine-artesunate. All but two of the 39 patients investigated completed follow-up. The mean parasite- and fever-clearance times [and 95% confidence intervals (CI)] after AP treatment were 36 (30-42) and 21 (18-24) h, respectively. Most (32) of the 37 infections that were followed adequately appeared to be eradicated by the AP, the other five recrudescing once more. The overall cure 'rate' and (CI) was 86% (76%-98%). All of the patients tolerated the AP well. Atovaquone-proguanil appears to be a safe and promising alternative treatment for P. falciparum infections in South-east Asia, although the combination is relatively expensive and may not clear some infections with multidrug-resistant parasites.
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