Sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum to several antimalarial drugs was determined by in vitro and in vivo tests. Chloroquine resistance in vitro was detected in 97 of 101 patients from different geographic areas of Colombia. Sensitivity to amodiaquine in vitro was observed in 29 of 30 P. falciparum isolates. In vitro sensitivity to amodiaquine was observed in 16 patients infected with chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum. In vitro sensitivity to quinine was demonstrated in 57 P. falciparum isolates. Two infections from the Amazon base (2/24) were resistant to mefloquine in vitro at concentrations of 5.7 and 16 pmol/well.
Resistance to Fansidar®, a sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine combination, was described in 9 patients from the Amazon region. One patient showed recrudescence of the infection 41 days after treatment.
The current distribution and degree of resistance of P. falciparum to widely used antimalarial drugs requires the evaluation of therapeutic schemes based on combinations of fast blood schizontocides with slow acting drugs. These associations may reduce the development of multidrug-resistant isolates and retard the spread of resistant populations of P. falciparum parasites.