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Pyronaridine–artesunate is a novel artemisinin-based combination therapy. The efficacy and safety of pyronaridine–artesunate were compared with artemether–lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in children.
This phase III open-label randomized controlled non-inferiority trial was conducted in Western Kenya. Children aged 6 months to ≤ 12 years with a bodyweight > 5 kg and microscopically confirmed P. falciparum malaria were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to orally receive pyronaridine–artesunate or artemether–lumefantrine, dosed according to bodyweight, for 3 days.
Of 197 participants, 101 received pyronaridine–artesunate and 96 received artemether–lumefantrine. The day-28 adequate clinical and parasitological response in the per-protocol population, PCR-corrected for reinfections, was 98.9% (93/94, 95% CI 94.2–99.8) for pyronaridine–artesunate and 96.4% (81/84, 95% CI 90.0–98.8) for artemether–lumefantrine. Pyronaridine–artesunate was found to be non-inferior to artemether–lumefantrine: the treatment difference was 2.5% (95% CI − 2.8 to 9.0). Adverse events occurred in 41.6% (42/101) and 34.4% (33/96) of patients in the pyronaridine–artesunate group and the artemether–lumefantrine group, respectively. No participants were found to have alanine or aspartate aminotransferase levels > 3 times the upper limit of normal.
Pyronaridine–artesunate was well tolerated, efficacious and non-inferior to artemether–lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Kenyan children. Results are in line with previous reports and inclusion of pyronaridine–artesunate in paediatric malaria treatment programmes should be considered.
This study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov under NCT02411994. Registration date: 8 April 2015. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02411994?term=pyronaridine–artesunate&cond=Malaria&cntry=KE&rank=1