Artemisinin: large community studies.
Prospective randomized trials with oral artemisinin derivatives have been conducted in over 1000 patients to determine the optimum treatment of multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria on the Thai-Burmese border. These drugs have proved valuable in 3 settings. (i) Primary treatment of uncomplicated malaria in combination with mefloquine, when they accelerate the rate of recovery, eliminate the risk of dangerous early failures, and if given for 3 d or more improve overall cure rates; (ii) treatment of recrudescent infections, which otherwise have a high failure rate; and (iii) oral treatment of patients with high parasitaemias (> or = 4%) but no clinical evidence of severity (a group who would usually receive parenteral quinine). The parenteral formulation of artemether is absorbed if given rectally, and this may offer a practical alternative method of treating severe malaria in rural areas.