Artemisinin-based combination therapy during pregnancy: Outcome of pregnancy and infant mortality: A cohort study

Michael Nambozi, Halidou Tinto, Victor Mwapasa, Harry Tagbor, Jean Bertin Bukasa Kabuya, Sebastian Hachizovu, Maminata Traoré, Innocent Valea, Marc Christian Tahita, Gifty Ampofo, Jozefien Buyze, Raffaella Ravinetto, Diana Arango, Kamala Thriemer, Modest Mulenga, Jean Pierre Van Geertruyden, Umberto D'Alessandro

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Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of treating uncomplicated malaria during the second and third trimester of pregnancy with an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) has already been implemented by all sub-Saharan African countries. However, there is limited knowledge on the effect of ACT on pregnancy outcomes, and on newborn and infant's health. 

Methods: Pregnant women with malaria in four countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Zambia) were treated with either artemether-lumefantrine (AL), amodiaquine-artesunate (ASAQ), mefloquine-artesunate (MQAS), or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQ); 3127 live new-borns (822 in the AL, 775 in the ASAQ, 765 in the MQAS and 765 in the DHAPQ arms) were followed-up until their first birthday. 

Results: Prevalence of placental malaria and low birth weight were 28.0% (738/2646) and 16.0% (480/2999), respectively, with no significant differences between treatment arms. No differences in congenital malformations (p = 0.35), perinatal mortality (p = 0.77), neonatal mortality (p = 0.21), and infant mortality (p = 0.96) were found. 

Conclusions: Outcome of pregnancy and infant survival were similar between treatment arms indicating that any of the four artemisinin-based combinations could be safely used during the second and third trimester of pregnancy without any adverse effect on the baby. Nevertheless, smaller safety differences between artemisinin-based combinations cannot be excluded; country-wide post-marketing surveillance would be very helpful to confirm such findings. 

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMalaria Journal
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019


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