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22.12.2005 General News

Artesunate-Amodiaquine still the drug for malaria

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 22, GNA - The Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health on Wednesday assured the public that Artesunate Amodiaqunine, the new drug for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, remained the national choice for the treatment of the disease despite the withdrawal of some combinations.

Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, who briefed the press in Accra, said the withdrawal of the 600mg Amodiaquine and the 200mg Artesunate combination, which were taken as a single dose, would be replaced with the two divided dose regime that would provide the same daily dose of 600mg Amodiaquine and 200mg Artesunate.

Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service last Friday after a joint meeting with representatives of local manufacturers, Food and Drugs Board, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Noguchi Memorial Institute and Pharmacovigilance Centre of the University of Ghana Medical School, called for the withdrawal of the single dose of the drug combination due to reports of reactions of patients.

"Reports of adverse effects in the use of Artesunate Amodiaquine combination meant for adults weighing 70 kilograms and above received in the last few months have been critically assessed and serious as they may be, they are all part of the carefully documented side effects of the drug, particularly Amodiaquine".

Prof. Akosa said the Pharmacovigilance Centre had been empowered to constantly monitor the effects of the different doses of drugs against their expected therapeutic effects and to review the treatment regime or change the drug concerned completely.

He noted that such decisions would be taken in favour of the safety of the patient.

Prof. Akosa said the reported side effects were within the expected limit under the pre-determined therapeutic dose regime and the sector would continue to monitor the safety and efficacy of all drugs currently in use in the country.

He said guidelines on the management of uncomplicated malaria had been developed based on the combined therapy and the total daily dose. The change now was on how the daily dose should be taken. Prof. Akosa advised prescribers and dispensers to adhere strictly to the guidelines and urged the public to continue to report any side effects promptly to their doctors for the necessary action to be taken. 22 Dec. 05

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