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07.06.2007 Health

Combination therapies for malaria treatment soon

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The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) is no longer registering new anti-malaria mono-therapies, or single drug, for use in the management of malaria.

The regulatory body said the licenses of mono-therapies already in existence would not be renewed once their term expired, as part of measures to phase them out after a set period.

FDB officials told the GNA in Accra on Thursday that this was in conformity with policy directions to phase out mono-therapies in favour of combination therapies.

Currently, there are a variety of mono-therapies such artesunate, chloroquine, amodiaquine, alaxin and halufantrine in the system but the registration licenses of majority of these drugs are expected to expire by the end of the year.

Following problems of resistance and failure rate of chloroquine, the World Health Organization has recommended the use of a combination of more than one drug to treat malaria.

The world body has accepted the use of an artemisinin and other anti-malarial drugs, ushering in a regime of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for treatment of malaria.

The four ACTs recommended by the WHO for Africa are: artesunate-fansidar, artesunate-amodiaquine, artesunate-mefloquine and artemether-lumefantrine (coartem).

18 countries including Ghana, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and DR Congo, have opted for artesunate-amodiaquine, as a first line malaria drug while 21 countries including Kenya, South Africa, Mali and Nigeria have gone for artemether-lumefantrine.

Meanwhile, Mr Nelson Aklamanu, a pharmacist at the Palace Pharmacy at Danquah Circle in Accra, has called for a possible trial into reasons why children experience little side effects as compared to adult patients when they take artesunate amodiaquine.

He told the GNA that most adult patients who visited his pharmacy opted for other malaria drugs, especially artemether-lumefantrine, because of adverse effects of sleeplessness, palpitation and others they experienced after taking artesunate-amodiaquine.

He said children, surprisingly, tolerated artesunate-amodiaquine with very little complaints.

Source: GNA

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