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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor-In-Chief:Monalisa Dmello, M.B,B.S., M.D. [2];

Overview

Malaria is an preventable and treatable disease. The primary objective of treatment is to ensure a rapid and complete elimination of the Plasmodium parasite from the patient’s blood in order to prevent progression of uncomplicated malaria to severe disease or death, and to chronic infection that leads to malaria-related anaemia.

Medical Therapy

Antimicrobial Regimen

  • 1. Plasmodium falciparum[1]
  • 1.1 Treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria
  • 1.1.1 Treat children and adults with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria (except pregnant women in their first trimester) with one of the following recommended ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy)
  • Preferred regimen (1): Artemether 5–24 mg/kg/day PO bid AND Lumefantrine 29–144 mg/kg/day PO bid for 3 days.
  • Note: The first two doses should, ideally, be given 8 h apart.
  • Dosage regimen based on Body weight (kg)
  • Body weight (kg)-5 to < 15- Artemether 20 mg PO bid AND Lumefantrine 120 mg PO bid for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg)-15 to < 25- Artemether 40 mg PO bid AND Lumefantrine 240 mg PO bid for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg)-25 to < 35- Artemether 60 mg PO bid AND Lumefantrine 360 mg PO bid for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg) ≥ 35- Artemether 80 mg PO bid AND Lumefantrine 480 mg PO bid for 3 days
  • Preferred regimen (2): Artesunate 2–10 mg/kg/day PO qd AND Amodiaquine 7.5–15 mg/kg/day PO qd for 3 days
  • Note: A total therapeutic dose range of 6–30 mg/kg/day artesunate and 22.5–45 mg/kg/day per dose amodiaquine is recommended.
  • Dosage regimen based on Body weight (kg)
  • Body weight (kg)-4.5 to < 9- Artesunate 25 mg PO qd AND Amodiaquine 67.5 mg PO qd for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg)-9 to < 18 - Artesunate 50 mg PO qd AND Amodiaquine 135 mg PO qd for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg)-18 to < 36- Artesunate 100 mg PO qd AND Amodiaquine 270 mg PO qd for 3 days
  • Body weight (kg) ≥ 36 - Artesunate 200 mg PO qd AND Amodiaquine 540 mg PO qd for 3 days
  • Preferred regimen (3): Artesunate 2–10 mg/kg/day PO qd AND Mefloquine 2–10 mg/kg/day PO qd for 3 days
  • Preferred regimen (4): Artesunate 2–10 mg/kg/day PO qd for 3 days AND Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine 1.25 (25–70 / 1.25–3.5) mg/kg/day PO given as a single dose on day 1
  • 1.1.2 Reducing the transmissibility of treated P. falciparum infections In low-transmission areas in patients with P. falciparum malaria (except pregnant women, infants aged < 6 months and women breastfeeding infants aged < 6 months)
  • Preferred regimen: Single dose of 0.25 mg/kg Primaquine with ACT
  • 1.2 Recurrent Falciparum Malaria
  • 1.2.1 Failure within 28 days
  • Note:The recommended second-line treatment is an alternative ACT known to be effective in the region. Adherence to 7-day treatment regimens (with artesunate or quinine both of which should be co-administered with + tetracycline, or doxycycline or clindamycin) is likely to be poor if treatment is not directly observed; these regimens are no longer generally recommended.
  • 1.2.2 Failure after 28 days
  • Note: all presumed treatment failures after 4 weeks of initial treatment should, from an operational standpoint, be considered new infections and be treated with the first-line ACT. However, reuse of mefloquine within 60 days of first treatment is associated with an increased risk for neuropsychiatric reactions, and an alternative ACT should be used.
  • 1.3 Reducing the transmissibility of treated P. falciparum infections In low-transmission areas in patients with P. falciparum malaria (except pregnant women, infants aged < 6 months and women breastfeeding infants aged < 6 months)
  • Note: Single dose of 0.25 mg/kg bw Primaquine with ACT
  • 1.4 Treating uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in special risk groups
  • 1.4.1 Pregnancy
  • First trimester of pregnancy : Quinine AND Clindamycin 10mg/kg/day PO bid for 7 days
  • Second and third trimesters : Mefloquine is considered safe for the treatment of malaria during the second and third trimesters; however, it should be given only in combination with an artemisinin derivative.
  • Note (1): Quinine is associated with an increased risk for hypoglycaemia in late pregnancy, and it should be used (with clindamycin) only if effective alternatives are not available.
  • Note (2): Primaquine and tetracyclines should not be used in pregnancy.
  • 1.4.2 Infants less than 5kg body weight : with an ACT at the same mg/kg bw target dose as for children weighing 5 kg.
  • 1.4.3 Patients co-infected with HIV: should avoid Artesunate + SP if they are also receiving Co-trimoxazole, and avoid Artesunate AND Amodiaquine if they are also receiving efavirenz or zidovudine.
  • 1.4.4 Large and Obese adults: For obese patients, less drug is often distributed to fat than to other tissues; therefore, they should be dosed on the basis of an estimate of lean body weight, ideal body weight. Patients who are heavy but not obese require the same mg/kg bw doses as lighter patients.
  • 1.4.5 Patients co-infected with TB: Rifamycins, in particular rifampicin, are potent CYP3A4 inducers with weak antimalarial activity. Concomitant administration of rifampicin during quinine treatment of adults with malaria was associated with a significant decrease in exposure to quinine and a five-fold higher recrudescence rate
  • 1.4.6 Non-immune travellers : Treat travellers with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria returning to nonendemic settings with an ACT.
  • 1.4.7 Uncomplicated hyperparasitaemia: People with P. falciparum hyperparasitaemia are at increased risk of treatment failure, severe malaria and death so should be closely monitored, in addition to receiving an ACT.
  • 2. Treatment of uncomplicated malaria caused by P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae or P. knowlesi
  • 2.1 Blood Stage infection
  • 2.1.1. Uncomplicated malaria caused by P. vivax
  • 2.1.1.1 In areas with chloroquine-sensitive P. vivax
  • Preferred regimen: Chloroquine total dose of 25 mg/kg PO. Chloroquine is given at an initial dose of 10 mg/kg, followed by 10 mg/kg on the second day and 5 mg/kg on the third day.
  • 2.1.1.2 In areas with chloroquine-resistant P. vivax
  • 2.1.2 Uncomplicated malaria caused by P. ovale, P. malariae or P. knowlesi malaria
  • Note: Resistance of P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi to antimalarial drugs is not well characterized, and infections caused by these three species are generally considered to be sensitive to chloroquine. In only one study, conducted in Indonesia, was resistance to chloroquine reported in P. malariae. The blood stages of P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi should therefore be treated with the standard regimen of ACT or Chloroquine, as for vivax malaria.
  • 2.1.3 Mixed malaria infections
  • Note: ACTs are effective against all malaria species and so are the treatment of choice for mixed infections.
  • 2.2 Liver stages (hypnozoites) of P. vivax and P. ovale
  • Note: To prevent relapse, treat P. vivax or P. ovale malaria in children and adults (except pregnant women, infants aged < 6 months, women breastfeeding infants < 6 months, women breastfeeding older infants unless they are known not to be G6PD deficient and people with G6PD deficiency) with a 14-day course of primaquine in all transmission settings. Strong recommendation, high-quality evidence In people with G6PD deficiency, consider preventing relapse by giving primaquine base at 0.75 mg base/kg bw once a week for 8 weeks, with close medical supervision for potential primaquine-induced adverse haematological effects.]
  • 2.2.1 Primaquine for preventive relapse
  • Preferred regimen: Primaquine 0.25–0.5 mg/kg/day PO qd for 14 days
  • 2.2.2 Primaquine and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
  • Preferred regimen: Primaquine 0.75 mg base/kg/day PO once a week for 8 weeks.
  • Note: The decision to give or withhold Primaquine should depend on the possibility of giving the treatment under close medical supervision, with ready access to health facilities with blood transfusion services.
  • 2.2.3 Prevention of relapse in pregnant or lacating women and infants
  • Note: Primaquine is contraindicated in pregnant women, infants < 6 months of age and in lactating women (unless the infant is known not to be G6PD deficient).
  • 3. Treatment of severe malaria
  • 3.1 Treatment of severe falciparum infection with Artesunate
  • 3.1.1 Adults and children with severe malaria (including infants, pregnant women in all trimesters and lactating women):-
  • Preferred regimen: Artesunate IV/IM for at least 24 h and until they can tolerate oral medication. Once a patient has received at least 24 h of parenteral therapy and can tolerate oral therapy, complete treatment with 3 days of an ACT (add single dose Primaquine in areas of low transmission).
  • 3.1.2 Young children weighing < 20 kg
  • Preferred regimen:Artesunate 3 mg/kg per dose IV/IM q24h
  • Alternatives regimen: use Artemether in preference to quinine for treating children and adults with severe malaria
  • 3.2.Treating cases of suspected severe malaria pending transfer to a higher-level facility (pre-referral treatment)
  • 3.2.1 Adults and children
  • 3.2.2 Children < 6 years
  • Preferred regimen: Where intramuscular injections of artesunate are not available, treat with a single rectal dose (10 mg/kg) of Artesunate, and refer immediately to an appropriate facility for further care.
  • Note: Do not use rectal artesunate in older children and adults.
  • 3.3 Pregancy
  • Note: Parenteral artesunate is the treatment of choice in all trimesters. Treatment must not be delayed.
  • 3.4 Treatment of severe P. Vivax infection
  • Note: parenteral artesunate, treatment can be completed with a full treatment course of oral ACT or chloroquine (in countries where chloroquine is the treatment of choice). A full course of radical treatment with primaquine should be given after recovery.
  • 3.5 Additional aspects of management in severe malaria
  • Fluid therapy: It is not possible to give general recommendations on fluid replacement; each patient must be assessed individually and fluid resuscitation based on the estimated deficit.
  • Blood Transfusion :In high-transmission settings, blood transfusion is generally recommended for children with a haemoglobin level of < 5 g/100 mL(haematocrit < 15%). In low-transmission settings, a threshold of 20% (haemoglobin,7 g/100 mL) is recommended.
  • Exchange blood transfusion: Exchange blood transfusion requires intensive nursing care and a relatively large volume of blood, and it carries significant risks. There is no consensus on the indications, benefits and dangers involved or on practical details such as the volume of blood that should be exchanged. It is, therefore, not possible to make any recommendation regarding the use of exchange blood transfusion.

References

  1. "Guidelines for the treatment of malaria. Third edition April 2015" (PDF).

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