Document Type

Article

Department

Pathology (East Africa)

Abstract

Background: This study assessed the safety of the new World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of adding a single low-dose of primaquine (PQ) to standard artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), regardless of individual glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) status, for treatment of acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Tanzania.

Methods: Men and non-pregnant, non-lactating women aged ≥1 year with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria were enrolled and randomized to either standard artemether-lumefantrine (AL) regimen alone or with a 0.25 mg/kg single-dose of PQ. PQ was administered concomitantly with the first AL dose. All drug doses were supervised. Safety was evaluated between days 0 and 28. G6PD status was assessed using rapid test (CareStart™) and molecular genotyping. The primary endpoint was mean percentage relative reduction in haemoglobin (Hb) concentration (g/dL) between days 0 and 7 by genotypic G6PD status and treatment arm.

Results: Overall, 220 patients, 110 per treatment arm, were enrolled, of whom 33/217 (15.2 %) were phenotypically G6PD deficient, whereas 15/110 (13.6 %) were genotypically hemizygous males, 5/110 (4.5 %) homozygous females and 22/110 (20 %) heterozygous females. Compared to genotypically G6PD wild-type/normal [6.8, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 4.67–8.96], only heterozygous patients in AL arm had significant reduction in day-7 mean relative Hb concentration (14.3, 95 % CI 7.02-21.55, p=0.045), however, none fulfilled the pre-defined haemolytic threshold value of ≥25 % Hb reduction. After adjustment for baseline parasitaemia, Hb, age and sex the mean relative Hb reduction was not statistically significant in both heterozygous and hemizygous/homozygous patients in both arms. A majority of the adverse events (AEs) were mild and unrelated to the study drugs. However, six (4.4 %) episodes, three per treatment arm, of acute haemolytic anaemia occurred between days 0 and 7. Three occurred in phenotypically G6PD deficient patients, two in AL and one in AL + PQ arm, but none in genotypically hemizygous/homozygous patients. All patients with acute haemolytic anaemia recovered without medical intervention.

Conclusion: The findings support that the WHO recommendation of adding a single low-dose of PQ to standard AL regimen is safe for the treatment of acute uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria regardless of G6PD status in Tanzania.

Publication

Malaria Journal

Included in

Pathology Commons

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