Malaria drug available under CDC's IND protocol

August 13, 2007

Patients with severe malaria who need parenteral therapy because they are unable to take oral medications may now benefit from treatment with artesunate, an unapproved therapy now available through a new CDC Investigational New Drug Application.

Patients with severe malaria who need parenteral therapy because they are unable to take oral medications may now benefit from treatment with artesunate, an unapproved therapy now available through a new CDC Investigational New Drug Application (IND). The drug belongs to the artemisinin class, whose members are derivatives of "quing hao," or sweet wormwood plant (Artemisia annua). Artesunate will be available only through the CDC Drug Service and CDC Quarantine Stations and will be provided to the agency by the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research. To be eligible, patients must also have high-density parasitemia (>5%) or have severe malaria—indicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome or severe anemia. In addition, artesunate should be used only if it is available more rapidly than quinidine, the patient has experienced quinidine failure or intolerance, or the use of quinidine is contraindicated. Due to artesunate's short half-life, follow-on oral therapy with atovaquone/proguanil HCl (Malarone, GlaxoSmithKline), doxycycline, clindamycin, or mefloquine is recommended. Healthcare providers wishing to enroll a patient into the protocol should contact the CDC Malaria Hotline at (770)-488-7788.

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