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MOLECULAR EPIDEMIOLOGY OF MALARIA IN CAMEROON. XXI. BASELINE THERAPEUTIC EFFICACY OF CHLOROQUINE, AMODIAQUINE, AND SULFADOXINE-PYRIMETHAMINE MONOTHERAPIES IN CHILDREN BEFORE NATIONAL DRUG POLICY CHANGE

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  • 1 Unité de Recherche “Paludologie Afro-tropicale,” Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Paludisme, Organisation de Coordination pour la lutte contre les Endémies en Afrique Centrale (OCEAC), Yaoundé; Laboratoire de Santé Publique, OCEAC; Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Faculté de Médecine, Yaoundé; Groupe Technique Central, Comité National Roll Back Malaria, Ministère de la Santé Publique, Yaoundé, Cameroon

The availability of epidemiologic data on drug-resistant malaria based on a standardized clinical and parasitological protocol is a prerequisite for a rational therapeutic strategy to control malaria. As part of the surveillance program on the therapeutic efficacy of the first-line (chloroquine and amodiaquine) and second-line (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine) drugs for the management of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infections, non-randomized studies were conducted in symptomatic children aged less than 10 years according to the World Health Organization protocol (14-day follow-up period) at 12 sentinel sites in Cameroon between 1999 and 2004. Of 1,407 children enrolled in the studies, 460, 444, and 503 were treated with chloroquine, amodiaquine, or sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, respectively. Chloroquine treatment resulted in high failure rates (proportion of early and late failures, 48.6%). Amodiaquine was effective at all study sites (proportion of failures, 7.3%). Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine therapy was less effective than amodiaquine (P < 0.05), with failures observed in 9.9% of patients. Chloroquine is no longer a viable option and has been withdrawn from the official drug outlets in Cameroon. Amodiaquine and, to a lesser extent, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine monotherapies are still effective in Cameroon, but further development of resistance to these drugs should be delayed by the novel strategy using artemisinin-based combination therapy. Our findings indicate that amodiaquine is the most rational partner for artesunate. Studies on the efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine combination are currently being undertaken at several sites in the country.

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