Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



New Malaria Drug Proves Effective in Study of African Children

New Malaria Drug Proves Effective in Study of African Children

11/06/10

SATURDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The death rate among children with severe malaria was nearly one-fourth lower when they received a new drug called artesunate than when they got the standard treatment of quinine, a new study shows.

The finding suggests that artesunate should replace quinine as the malaria treatment of choice for severe malaria worldwide, the researchers said.

Malaria, a disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito, can quickly become life-threatening if left untreated, according to the World Health Organization.

The new study included 5,425 children with severe falciparum malaria -- the most dangerous of four types of malaria affecting humans -- in nine African countries. Of the children, 2,713 were treated with artesunate and 2,713 with quinine. There were 230 deaths (8.5 percent) in the artesunate group and 297 deaths (11 percent) in the quinine group, the study authors reported.

That means the risk of death was 22.5 percent lower for children who received artesunate. The investigators also found that side effects such as coma and convulsions were less frequent among those given artesunate.

The study authors, Nicholas White of Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and colleagues from the AQUAMAT study group, also noted that while artesunate is more expensive to buy, quinine is more expensive to administer.

"A major factor restricting the deployment of artesunate has been unavailability of a product satisfying international good manufacturing standards. The most widely used product, assessed in this study, does not yet have this certification, which has prevented deployment in some countries. This barrier must be overcome speedily so that parenteral artesunate can be deployed in malaria-endemic areas to save lives," White's team wrote in a news release.

The study, which was released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of The Lancet, was scheduled for presentation Saturday at a meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, held in Atlanta.

A previous study found that the malaria death rate among Southeast Asian adults treated with artesunate was 14 percent, compared with 23 percent for those treated with quinine. Following that study, the World Health Organization changed its guidelines to recommend artesunate for severe malaria in adults.

But this additional study was needed because it was thought the disease course could be different in African children.

"Artesunate should now become the treatment of choice for severe malaria for children and adults worldwide," the authors of the new study concluded.

"Malaria causes an estimated 800,000 deaths every year in African children. Severe malaria is often the most common admission diagnosis in febrile children, so a change in treatment policy from quinine to artesunate has the potential to save thousands of children's lives every year," White and colleagues stated in the news release.

"If 4 million African children with severe malaria every year were to receive prompt treatment with parenteral artesunate instead of quinine, and the benefits were similar to those recorded in this trial, then approximately 100,000 lives might be saved per year," they concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about malaria.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital First in Region to Use New da Vinci Xi Surgical System
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >