The effect of dosing strategies on the therapeutic efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine for uncomplicated malaria: A meta-analysis of individual patient data

Martin A. Adjuik, Richard Allan, Anupkumar R. Anvikar, Elizabeth A. Ashley, Mamadou S. Ba, Hubert Barennes, Karen I. Barnes, Quique Bassat, Elisabeth Baudin, Anders Björkman, François Bompart, Maryline Bonnet, Steffen Borrmann, Philippe Brasseur, Hasifa Bukirwa, Francesco Checchi, Michel Cot, Prabin Dahal, Umberto D'Alessandro, Philippe DeloronMeghna Desai, Graciela Diap, Abdoulaye A. Djimde, Grant Dorsey, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Emmanuelle Espié, Jean Francois Etard, Caterina I. Fanello, Jean François Faucher, Babacar Faye, Jennifer A. Flegg, Oumar Gaye, Peter W. Gething, Raquel González, Francesco Grandesso, Philippe J. Guerin, Jean Paul Guthmann, Sally Hamour, Armedy Ronny Hasugian, Simon I. Hay, Georgina S. Humphreys, Vincent Jullien, Elizabeth Juma, Moses R. Kamya, Corine Karema, Jean R. Kiechel, Peter G. Kremsner, Sanjeev Krishna, Valérie Lameyre, Laminou M. Ibrahim, Sue J. Lee, Bertrand Lell, Andreas Martensson, Achille Massougbodji, Hervé Menan, Didier Ménard, Clara Menéndez, Martin Meremikwu, Clarissa Moreira, Carolyn Nabasumba, Michael Nambozi, Jean Louis Ndiaye, Frederic Nikiema, Christian Nsanzabana, Francine Ntoumi, Bernhards R. Ogutu, Piero Olliaro, Lyda Osorio, Jean Bosco Ouédraogo, Louis K. Penali, Mbaye Pene, Loretxu Pinoges, Patrice Piola, Ric N. Price, Cally Roper, Philip J. Rosenthal, Claude Emile Rwagacondo, Albert Same-Ekobo, Birgit Schramm, Amadou Seck, Bhawna Sharma, Carol Hopkins Sibley, Véronique Sinou, Sodiomon B. Sirima, Jeffery J. Smith, Frank Smithuis, Fabrice A. Somé, Doudou Sow, Sarah G. Staedke, Kasia Stepniewska, Todd D. Swarthout, Khadime Sylla, Ambrose O. Talisuna, Joel Tarning, Walter R J Taylor, Emmanuel A. Temu, Julie I. Thwing, Emiliana Tjitra, Roger C K Tine, Halidou Tinto, Michel T. Vaillant, Neena Valecha, Ingrid Van den Broek, Nicholas J. White, Adoke Yeka, Issaka Zongo, The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AS-AQ Study Group

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Background: Artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ) is one of the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa. We investigated the impact of different dosing strategies on the efficacy of this combination for the treatment of falciparum malaria.

Methods: Individual patient data from AS-AQ clinical trials were pooled using the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) standardised methodology. Risk factors for treatment failure were identified using a Cox regression model with shared frailty across study sites.

Results: Forty-three studies representing 9,106 treatments from 1999-2012 were included in the analysis; 4,138 (45.4%) treatments were with a fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (FDC), 1,293 (14.2%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 25 mg/kg (loose NFDC-25), 2,418 (26.6%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (loose NFDC-30), and the remaining 1,257 (13.8%) with a co-blistered non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (co-blistered NFDC). The median dose of AQ administered was 32.1 mg/kg [IQR: 25.9-38.2], the highest dose being administered to patients treated with co-blistered NFDC (median = 35.3 mg/kg [IQR: 30.6-43.7]) and the lowest to those treated with loose NFDC-25 (median = 25.0 mg/kg [IQR: 22.7-25.0]). Patients treated with FDC received a median dose of 32.4 mg/kg [IQR: 27-39.0]. After adjusting for reinfections, the corrected antimalarial efficacy on day 28 after treatment was similar for co-blistered NFDC (97.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 97.0-98.8%]) and FDC (98.1% [95% CI: 97.6%-98.5%]; P = 0.799), but significantly lower for the loose NFDC-25 (93.4% [95% CI: 91.9%-94.9%]), and loose NFDC-30 (95.0% [95% CI: 94.1%-95.9%]) (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). After controlling for age, AQ dose, baseline parasitemia and region; treatment with loose NFDC-25 was associated with a 3.5-fold greater risk of recrudescence by day 28 (adjusted hazard ratio, AHR = 3.51 [95% CI: 2.02-6.12], P < 0.001) compared to FDC, and treatment with loose NFDC-30 was associated with a higher risk of recrudescence at only three sites.


Conclusions: There was substantial variation in the total dose of amodiaquine administered in different AS-AQ combination regimens. Fixed dose AS-AQ combinations ensure optimal dosing and provide higher antimalarial treatment efficacy than the loose individual tablets in all age categories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBMC Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015


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