Researchers from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine examined the efficacy of new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), pyronaridine-artesunate, to treat malaria in areas where resistance to other ACTs has become a problem. The analysis finds it at least as useful as the current ACTs, if not better.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends ACTs to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria. But, concerns over rising artemisinin resistance have led global initiatives to develop new partner drugs to protect their efficacy.
In this update of a Cochrane Review, independent LSTM authors Joseph Pryce and Paul Hine assessed the efficacy of pyronaridine-artesunate in treating malaria. They found that the treatment was as good, if not better than other ACTs; and while some people receiving it have liver function tests suggesting mild liver injuries, there was no evidence that this injury was severe or irreversible.
The review team looked at the results from 10 included trials that compared pyronaridine-artesunate with other currently-used treatments for P. falciparum malaria. Five of the studies looked specifically at the safety of the drug, and two of the trials exclusively recruited children under the age of 12.
Joe Pryce, one of the authors, said: "We found that pyronaridine-artesunate did increase the risk of having blood tests that showed mild liver injury, but there was no evidence that this caused severe or irreversible damage. The findings of this review's efficacy analysis support the recommendation for using pyronaridine-artesunate in areas of multiple drug resistance, providing effective malaria treatment where other treatments may be failing."