Primaquine is an important gametocytocidal drug that is combined with conventional malaria treatment for prevention of Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission. Primaquine has been administered together on the first or the last day of conventional treatment but the impact of primaquine timing has never been examined. This study aimed to assess safety, efficacy and optimal timing of single full-dose (0.75 mg/kg) primaquine when added to a standard 6-dose regimen of artemether–lumefantrine (AL).
Trials to assess the efficacy of the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria with 8-aminoquinolines require that most post-treatment relapses are identified, but there is no consensus on the optimal duration of follow-up in either symptomatic or asymptomatic vivax malaria. The efficacy of a 14-day course of primaquine on the cumulative incidence of recurrent asymptomatic P. vivax infections detected by ultrasensitive quantitative PCR (uPCR) as a primary endpoint was assessed.
Recently, we disclosed primaquine cell penetrating peptide conjugates that were more potent than parent primaquine against liver stage Plasmodium parasites and non-toxic to hepatocytes. The same strategy was now applied to the blood-stage antimalarial chloroquine, using a wide set of peptides, including TP10, a cell penetrating peptide with intrinsic antiplasmodial activity. Chloroquine-TP10 conjugates displaying higher antiplasmodial activity than the parent TP10 peptide were identified, at the cost of an increased hemolytic activity, which was further confirmed for their primaquine analogues.
Primaquine administration results in H 2O 2 accumulation in bone marrow, where gametocytes and asexual parasites are therefore killed. This finding, by Camarda et al. , supports the theory that the nonperipheral blood origin of recurrent Plasmodium vivax malaria is both hypnozoites (relapse source) and merozoites (recrudescence source), not hypnozoites only.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is recommended for uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax malaria in areas of emerging chloroquine resistance. We undertook a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis to compare the efficacies of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) with or without primaquine (PQ) on the risk of recurrent P. vivax.
Activation of hypnozoites of vivax malaria causes multiple clinical relapses, which contribute to the Plasmodium vivax burden and continuing transmission. Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is effective against blood-stage P. vivax but requires co-administration with primaquine to achieve radical cure. The therapeutic efficacy of primaquine depends on the generation of a therapeutically active metabolite via cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Impaired CYP2D6 metabolism has been associated with primaquine treatment failure. This study investigated the association between impaired CYP2D6 genotypes, drug-exposure to the long-acting ACT component (schizonticidal drugs) and tolerance and efficacy.
These results emphasise the importance of increasing access to treatment for routine case management, and the potential value of choosing first-line anti-malarial treatment policies according to local malaria epidemiology to maximise impact on transmission.
Greater efforts are needed to increase awareness of the benefits of the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax and this should be supported by economic analyses exploring the cost effectiveness of routine G6PD testing.
Countries hosting Eritrean refugees need to be aware of vivax malaria occurring in this group and the risk of autochthonous cases due to local transmission by indigenous, vector competent Anopheles species.
Once weekly chemoprevention of DP predicts favourable exposures with respect to both trough and peak concentrations.