Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24060207
Malar. J. 2013 Sep;12:343
BACKGROUND: Cambodia stopped using co-blistered, non-fixed, artesunate-mefloquine (ASMQ) in 2008 when treatment failure rates approximated 20%. Fixed dose combination (FDC) ASMQ is efficacious against acute uncomplicated, drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia but has not been tested in Cambodia.
METHODS: A 42-day WHO therapeutic efficacy study (TES) was conducted in 2010 in Oral, Kampong Speu province, south-west Cambodia, in patients with acute uncomplicated P. falciparum. Daily administered FDC ASMQ for three days was dosed by age. Genotyping of isolates at day 0 and day of recrudescence by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) classified post-treatment recurrent falciparum parasitaemia. Ex vivo drug sensitivity testing ([3H] hypoxanthine method) was performed on baseline parasites and reported as the drug concentration inhibiting 50% parasite growth vs no drug (IC₅₀).
RESULTS: Recruited patients numbered 45; five aged <15 years. On day 3, five of 45 [11.1 (3.7-24.05)] % patients were still parasite-positive; one of whom later failed treatment on day 21. There were 5/45 (11.1%) late treatment failures on day 21, 28 and 35; all were PCR diagnosed recrudescent infections. The day 0 MQ IC₅₀s ranged from 11.5-238.9 (median 58.6) nM.
CONCLUSIONS: This TES demonstrated reasonable efficacy in an area of possible reduced artemisinin sensitivity and high MQ IC₅₀s. Efficacy testing of FDC ASMQ should continue in Cambodia and be considered for reintroduction if efficacy returns.