Efficacy and safety of artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) tablets (six-dose regimen) in African infants and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria
Falade C, Makanga M, Premji Z, Ortmann CE, Stockmeyer M, de Palacios PI
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2005;99
Approximately one million children die from malaria each year. A recently approved artemisinin-based tablet, Coartem (co-artemether), comprising artemether 120 mg plus lumefantrine 20 mg, given in four doses, provides effective antimalarial treatment for children in many sub-Saharan countries. However, this regimen is considered insufficient for non-immune infants and in areas where multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum predominates. This open-label study assessed the efficacy and safety of co-artemether administered to 310 African children weighing 5-25 kg, with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Six doses of co-artemether were given over 3 days, with follow-up at 7, 14 and 28 days. Treatment rapidly cleared parasitemia and fever. The overall 28-day cure rate was 86.5%, and 93.9% when corrected by PCR for reinfection. Cure rates at 7 and 14 days exceeded 97.0% (uncorrected) and, on day 28, were similar in infants (5-<10 kg) previously exposed to malaria infection (partially immune: 88.6% uncorrected; 93.3% corrected), and in those who were non-immune (82.5% uncorrected; 95.0% corrected). Adverse events were mostly mild. There was no electrocardiographic evidence of cardiotoxicity. The co-artemether six-dose regimen, treating acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in African children, achieved rapid parasite clearance and a high cure rate. Treatment was generally safe and well tolerated.