Lack of adherence to artemisinin-based therapy limiting malaria fight, experts warn

According to a study in Kenya, a lack of adherence to the full course of artemisinin-based combination therapy against malaria is limiting the effectiveness of a drug that is recommended as a first-line treatment.

The study showed that only 47 percent of participants completed the given doses for ACT treatment. The study involved 297 participants in the Siaya district of western Kenya, all of whom had tested positive for the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The education level of each household was the highest predictor of inadequate adherence, All Africa reports.

"There have always been concerns about whether patients are fully adhering to their treatment regimens once they receive the recommended Artemisinin-based combination therapy," Eric Onyango, the lead researcher of the study, said, according to All Africa. "Our study reveals that adherence is poor among many patients."

Another study carried out in two Kenyan districts showed that 64.1 percent of the 918 patients involved in the study were probably adherent. The rate was a drop compared to previous studies.

"Targeted information, education and communication activities at the community level may help to increase awareness of the treatment regimen and its uptake, and reduce the risk of contributing to the development of parasite resistance," the authors of the study said, according to All Africa.

One of the other factors for poor uptake was the large number of tablets and the poor taste of the medicine.

"The tablets that a patient is expected to take daily are very many and they are unpalatable and this makes others just take the medicine for a short time and throw away the rest," Lillian Natembea, a nursing officer at the Kenyatta National Hospital, said, according to All Africa. "Some also feel they are fine after taking a few tablets and stop their medication halfway."