Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The efficacy and tolerability of single, low-dose mefloquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (MSP) combination was compared with chloroquine (CQ) for malaria treatment in a malaria-endemic area of Nigeria with multiple drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. The two drug regimens (MSP and CQ) were tested in a 12-month prospective population study. The patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 patients were treated presumptively, based on malaria symptoms. Group 2 patients were treated based on a parasitologic diagnosis using the World Health Organization seven-day in vivo test and extended to a 28-day follow-up period. Tolerability was assessed by the incidence and intensity of adverse events. One thousand nine hundred thirty-five patients visiting 10 health facilities, including the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, were enrolled. The study showed that the low-dose MSP was efficacious, with day 7 response rates of 95% and 91% for (presumptive) Group 1 and (in vivo) Group 2, respectively, while CQ had day 7 response rates of 82% and 66% in Groups 1 and 2, respectively. The low-dose MSP was significantly (P < 0.0001) more efficacious, with faster fever and parasite clearance times than CQ in this area of CQ-resistant P. falciparum malaria. Eight patients treated with CQ, including seven severe cases (RII-RIII) were successfully re-treated with MSP. Adverse events were generally more common among those treated with MSP (29%) than those treated with CQ (17%). However, the adverse events caused by both drugs were mild to moderate and self-limited. The MSP combination appears to be a good substitute for CQ, in view of multiple drug resistance, especially in areas with severe (RII-RIII) malaria.


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