Research from the University of Barcelona shows that antimalarial mefloquine (MQ) treatments administered during pregnancy did not seem to affect the early development of infants involved in the research.
The results were comparable to those from women who received sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) treatments during their pregnancies.
The study, available in PLOS Medicine, involved mothers who received intermittent preventive treatment for malaria with either SP or MQ during their pregnancies.
The study was conducted in Benin, Mozambique, Tanzania and Gabon. There were 2,815 infants involved with the MQ treatments and another 1,432 infants involved with the SP treatments.
The scientists evaluated the infants’ development at 1, 9 and 12 months old. The researchers assessed their growth and psychomotor development, which includes hearing, language, motor skills and social skills. They also monitored the anemia, malaria, mortality and hospital admissions of the infants.
There were no notable differences in the two groups of infants, whether they received MQ or SP. They showed similar weight and length through every timepoint, and they also showed similar mortality and health. Their psychomotor development milestones were also similar by 1 month old.
There was a heightened risk of an inability to walk without support, stand without help or bring food to mouth by 9 months old if the mothers had received MQ.