Challenges to replace ACT as first-line drug

TitleChallenges to replace ACT as first-line drug
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPhyo, AP, von Seidlein, L
JournalMalar J
Date PublishedJul 24
ISBN Number1475-2875 (Electronic)1475-2875 (Linking)

The spread of artemisinin and partner drug resistance through Asia requires changes in first-line therapy. The traditional modus has been the replacement of one first-line anti-malarial regimen with another. The number of anti-malarial drug candidates currently in development may have given false confidence in the expectation that resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) can be solved with a switch to the next anti-malarial drug regimen. A number of promising anti-malarial drug regimens did not succeed in becoming first-line drugs due to safety concerns or rapid development of resistance. Currently promising candidates for inclusion in first-line regimens, such as KAE 609, KAF 156, OZ 439, and OZ 277, have already triggered safety concerns or fears that point mutations could render the drugs inefficacious. An additional challenge for a new first-line drug is finding an appropriate partner drug. There is hope that none of the above-mentioned concerns will be substantiated in larger, upcoming trials. Meanwhile, combining already licensed anti-malarials may be a promising stop-gap measure. Practitioners in Vietnam have empirically started to add mefloquine to the current dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Practitioners in Africa could do worse than empirically combine already licensed co-artemether and amodiaquine when treatment with ACT no longer clears Plasmodium falciparum. Both combinations are currently undergoing trials.