Randomised placebo-controlled study of atovaquone plus proguanil for malaria prophylaxis in children

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Background The combination of atovaquone and proguanil is highly effective and safe for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria.We aimed in this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy and safety of this combination for malaria prophylaxis.

Methods 320 children who lived in a hyperendemic area for P falciparum malaria were stratified by weight and randomly assigned atovaquone plus proguanil or placebo once daily for 12 weeks.All children received initial curative treatment with atovaquone and proguanil before the start of chemosuppression. We recorded adverse events daily and collected thick blood smears once a week. The primary endpoint was a positive blood smear.

Findings 25 of 140 children in the placebo group and none of the 125 children in the atovaquone plus proguanil group had positive smears during chemosuppression (p<0.001). Adverse events during the chemosuppression phase did not differ between the groups.

Interpretatoin The combination of atovaquone plus proguanil is a highly effective and well-tolerated chemosuppressive antimalarial in children. This drug combination could replace current regimens.

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