Triple therapy with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus artemether-lumefantrine alone for artemisinin-resistant, uncomplicated falciparum malaria: an open-label, randomised, multicentre trial

Peto, Thomas J; Tripura, Rupam; Callery, James J; Lek, Dysoley; Nghia, Ho Dang Trung; Nguon, Chea; Thuong, Nguyen Thi Huyen; van der Pluijm, Rob W; Dung, Nguyen Thi Phuong; Sokha, Meas; Van Luong, Vo; Long, Le Thanh; Sovann, Yok; Duanguppama, Jureeporn; Waithira, Naomi; Hoglund, Richard M; Chotsiri, Palang; Chau, Nguyen Hoang; Ruecker, Andrea; Amaratunga, Chanaki; Dhorda, Mehul; Miotto, Olivo; Maude, Richard J.; Rekol, Huy; Chotivanich, Kesinee; Tarning, Joel; von Seidlein, Lorenz; Imwong, Mallika; Mukaka, Mavuto; Day, Nicholas P J; Hien, Tran Tinh; White, Nicholas J and Dondorp, Arjen M (2022). Triple therapy with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus artemether-lumefantrine alone for artemisinin-resistant, uncomplicated falciparum malaria: an open-label, randomised, multicentre trial. The Lancet. Infectious Diseases, 22(6) pp. 867–878.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00692-7

Abstract

Background: Late treatment failures after artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for falciparum malaria have increased in the Greater Mekong subregion in southeast Asia. Addition of amodiaquine to artemether-lumefantrine could provide an efficacious treatment for multidrug-resistant infections. Methods: We conducted an open-label, randomised trial at five hospitals or health centres in three locations (western Cambodia, eastern Cambodia, and Vietnam). Eligible participants were male and female patients aged 2-65 years with uncomplicated <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> malaria. Patients were randomly allocated (1:1 in blocks of eight to 12) to either artemether-lumefantrine alone (dosed according to WHO guidelines) or artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine (10 mg base per kg/day), both given orally as six doses over 3 days. All received a single dose of primaquine (0·25 mg/kg) 24 h after the start of study treatment to limit transmission of the parasite. Parasites were genotyped, identifying artemisinin resistance. The primary outcome was Kaplan-Meier 42-day PCR-corrected efficacy against recrudescence of the original parasite, assessed by intent-to-treat. Safety was a secondary outcome. This completed trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03355664). Findings: Between March 18, 2018, and Jan 30, 2020, 310 patients received randomly allocated treatment; 154 received artemether-lumefantrine alone and 156 received artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine. Parasites from 305 of these patients were genotyped. 42-day PCR-corrected treatment efficacy was noted in 151 (97%, 95% CI 92-99) of 156 patients with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus 146 (95%, 89-97) of 154 patients with artemether-lumefantrine alone; hazard ratio (HR) for recrudescence 0·6 (95% CI 0·2-1·9, p=0·38). Of the 13 recrudescences, 12 were in 174 (57%) of 305 infections with <i>pfkelch13</i> mutations indicating artemisinin resistance, for which 42-day efficacy was noted in 89 (96%) of 93 infections with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus 73 (90%) of 81 infections with artemether-lumefantrine alone; HR for recrudescence 0·44 (95% CI 0·14-1·40, p=0·17). Artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine was generally well tolerated, but the number of mild (grade 1-2) adverse events, mainly gastrointestinal, was greater in this group compared with artemether-lumefantrine alone (vomiting, 12 [8%] with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine vs three [2%] with artemether-lumefantrine alone, p=0·03; and nausea, 11 [7%] with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine vs three [2%] with artemether-lumefantrine alone, p=0·05). Early vomiting within 1 h of treatment, requiring retreatment, occurred in no patients of 154 with artemether-lumefantrine alone versus five (3%) of 156 with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine, p=0·06. Bradycardia (≤54 beats/min) of any grade was noted in 59 (38%) of 154 patients with artemether-lumefantrine alone and 95 (61%) of 156 with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine, p=0·0001. Interpretation: Artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine provides an alternative to artemether-lumefantrine alone as first-line treatment for multidrug-resistant <i>P falciparum malaria in the Greater Mekong subregion, and could prolong the therapeutic lifetime of artemether-lumefantrine in malaria-endemic populations.

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