BACKGROUND: The widespread increase in resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine threatens the use of these drugs for malaria treatment in pregnancy. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of amodiaquine alone or in combination with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine as alternative regimens.
METHODS: Pregnant women with a gestational age of 16 weeks or more who attended antenatal clinics at a district hospital in Ghana were screened for malaria with OptiMAL dipsticks. 900 pregnant women who had a positive test result and P falciparum asexual stage parasitaemia were enrolled and randomly assigned chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, amodiaquine, or amodiaquine plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. The primary outcome was parasitological failure by day 28 of treatment. Women were seen on days 3, 7, 14, and 28 after the start of treatment to assess the effect of treatment on peripheral parasitaemia, haemoglobin concentration, white-blood-cell count, and liver function. Additionally, reports of adverse effects were solicited and monitored during follow-up visits. Analysis was by intention to treat.
FINDINGS: PCR-corrected parasitological failure by day 28 was 14%, 11%, 3%, and 0% in the women assigned chloroquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, amodiaquine, and amodiaquine plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, respectively (p
INTERPRETATION: Amodiaquine alone or in combination with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, although associated with minor side-effects, is effective when used to treat malaria in pregnancy.
Lancet (2006) 368 (9544) 1349-1356 [doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69559-7]