Without an effective vaccine for the prevention of malaria, a fundamental component of the strategy for the control of this disease is based on prompt and effective treatment. Due to the high resistance level of Plasmodium falciparum to the most affordable drugs such as chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine, artemisinin-based combination therapies are presently used in many countries or are being developed for registration. One artemisinin combination therapy that is drawing a certain degree of interest is the combination of artesunate (a short half-life drug) plus amodiaquine (a long half-life drug that is presently used in loose combination in many countries). The short half-life drug achieves substantial and rapid parasite killing, while a high concentration of the long half-life drug kills off the remaining malaria parasites. In addition to the effectiveness of 3 days of treatment (rapid clearance of fever and malaria parasites) in western and central Africa, where resistance to amodiaquine is low, the combination of artesunate plus amodiaquine may delay or prevent the emergence of resistance to both drugs. An important step is the recent registration in Morocco (the country where the drug is manufactured) of a fixed combination of artesunate plus amodiaquine by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative with sanofi-aventis as the industrial partner. A prequalification dossier of this fixed combination has been submitted to the WHO. This new co-formulation will almost certainly increase its effectiveness by improving drug compliance.
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs (2007) 16 (7) 1079-1085 [doi:10.1517/135437126.96.36.1999]