Study protocol: an open-label individually randomised controlled trial to assess the efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine prophylaxis for malaria among forest goers in Cambodia

Maude, Richard James; Tripura, Rupam; Ean, Mom; Sokha, Meas; Peto, Thomas Julian; Callery, James John; Imwong, Mallika; Vongpromek, Ranitha; Tarning, Joel; Mukaka, Mavuto; Waithira, Naomi; Soviet, Oung; von Seidlein, Lorenz and Sovannaroth, Siv (2021). Study protocol: an open-label individually randomised controlled trial to assess the efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine prophylaxis for malaria among forest goers in Cambodia. BMJ Open, 11(7) e045900.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045900

Abstract

Introduction In the Greater Mekong Subregion, adults are at highest risk for malaria. The most relevant disease vectors bite during daytime and outdoors which makes forest work a high-risk activity for malaria. The absence of effective vector control strategies and limited periods of exposure during forest visits suggest that chemoprophylaxis could be an appropriate strategy to protect forest goers against malaria.

Methods and analysis The protocol describes an open-label randomised controlled trial of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) versus multivitamin as prophylaxis against malaria among forest goers aged 16–65 years in rural northeast Cambodia. The primary objective is to compare the efficacy of the artemisinin combination therapy AL versus a multivitamin preparation as defined by the 28-day PCR parasite positivity rate and incidence of confirmed clinical malaria of any species. The sample size is 2200 patient-episodes of duration 1 month in each arm. The duration of follow-up and prophylaxis for each participant is 1, 2 or 3 consecutive 28-day periods, followed by a further 28 days of post-exposure prophylaxis, depending on whether they continue to visit the forest. Analysis will be done both by intention to treat and per protocol.

Ethics and dissemination All participants will provide written, informed consent. Ethical approval was obtained from the Oxford Tropical Research Ethics Committee and the Cambodia National Ethics Committee for Health Research. Results will be disseminated by peer-reviewed open access publication together with open data.

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