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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 291-293

Malaria: Antimalarial resistance and policy ramificationsand challenges

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel Mumbai - 400012, India

Correspondence Address:
N A Kshirsagar
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel Mumbai - 400012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 17102549

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′The National health Policy 2002" of India and the "Roll Back Malaria" policy makers have set up an ambitious goal of reducing malaria mortality and morbidity by 25% by 2007, and by 50% by 2010. To achieve these goals, problems should be identified, available evidence analyzed and policy should be changed early. Infection with drug resistant malarial parasites has a tremendous impact on health (prolonged recurrent illness, increased hospital admissions and death), health system (higher cost of treatment) and socioeconomics of the region. In view of the evidence of the economic burden of malaria, it has been suggested that second line treatment could be considered at 10% failure instead of 25%. Effective schizonticidal drugs will not only reduce morbidity and mortality but will also reduce transmission. Studies have shown that prevalence of viable (as tested by exflagellation test) gametocytes is considerably more after the Chloroquine or Chloroquine + Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine treatment compared to Quinine. Unfortunately, the only gametocytocidal drug for Plasmodium falciparum, primaquine, is also loosing its efficacy. 45 mg Primaquine reduces gametocyte prevalence by 50% while a new drug, 75 mg bulaquine or 60 mg primaquine reduces it by 90%. Plasmodium vivax forms 60-70% of malaria cases in India. Relapses which occur in 10-20% of cases adds to the burden. Efficacy, as confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction-Single Strand Conformational Polymorphism (PCRSSCP) to differentiate relapse and re-infection, of standard dose of primaquine (15 mg/day for 5 days, even 15 mg/day for 14 days) for vivax malaria is reducing. Fourteen day treatment is also impractical as compliance is poor. Newer drugs, newer drug delivery systems are thus needed. Slow release formulations with blood levels maintained for one week may be useful. Rationale of giving primaquine in higher doses and different timing need to be considered. The genome of Plasmodium falciparum and genome of Anopheles gambiae have been unraveled in last past 3 years. This has given us an opportunity to develop new tools. Whatever be the tool, educating health care workers as well as lay public and ensuring appropriate use of available drug are essential to achieve our goals of controlling malaria.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow