Researchers tout effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine

Researchers found that dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was safer and more effective against malaria than other artemisinin-based combination therapies, according to a study recently published in Cocharane Review.

A research team from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom hosted the systematic review, which included researchers from Switzerland, Kenya and South Africa. In a review of 27 randomized studies that enrolled 16,382 adults, the researchers found that DHA-P was more effective than artemether-lumefantrine and had fewer side effects than artesunate-mefloquine.

"The very long duration of action of piperaquine in this combination, means that DHA-P reduces the risk of the person suffering another bout of malaria for up to nine weeks after treatment," David Sinclair, a clinical lecturer at LSTM, said. "This gives it an advantage over most of the other combinations. Mefloquine has a similarly long duration of action but commonly causes side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness."

DHA-P is one of the five artemisinin-based combination therapies currently recommended by the World Health Organization. It was approved for use by the European Medicines Agency in 2013.

The review also examined concerns that DHA-P caused some short-term changes in electrocardiographs that trace the conduction of the heart rhythm. The review found that the number of people impacted by the changes was small and all incidences resolved spontaneously without significant consequences.