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Comparative efficacy of intramuscular artemether and intravenous quinine in Nigerian children with cerebral malaria.

Author(s): Olumese PE, Bjorkman A, Gbadegesin RA, Adeyemo AA, Walker O

Affiliation(s): Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. p.olumese@skannet.com

Publication date & source: 1999-10-15, Acta Trop., 73(3):231-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Comparative Study ; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

The efficacy of a 5-day treatment with intramuscular artemether (3.2-mg/kg loading dose followed by 1.6 mg/kg daily) was compared to that of the standard 7-day treatment with quinine (20-mg/kg loading dose followed by 10 mg/kg every 8 h) in a randomised clinical trial including 103 children aged 12-60 months with cerebral malaria between 1994 and 1996. No statistical difference of immediate efficacy was found between the two treatments. There were 11 (20%) deaths in the artemether group and 14 (28%) in the children who received quinine. The respective artemether versus quinine median fever clearance times (h) were 39 (interquartile ranges [IQ] 30-54) vs. 48 (IQ 30-60), and parasite clearance 42 (IQ 24-60) vs. 36 (IQ 30-48). However, one patient who received artemether had a recrudescence on day 14, which was successfully treated with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine. Times to recovery from coma were 24 h (IQ 18-45) and 33 h (IQ 19-57), respectively. The occurrence of transient neurological sequelae including motor disabilities, cortical blindness, and afebrile seizures was also similar in the two groups. No adverse reactions to the two drugs were recorded during the study period. Artemether represents an important option in the management of cerebral malaria in Nigeria especially in rural areas where facilities for intravenous administration may not yet be optimal.

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