Journal Article

Efficacy and Safety of Mefloquine, Artesunate, Mefloquine-Artesunate, and Praziquantel against <i>Schistosoma haematobium</i>: Randomized, Exploratory Open-Label Trial

Jennifer Keiser, Nicaise A. N'Guessan, Koffi D. Adoubryn, Kigbafori D. Silué, Penelope Vounatsou, Christoph Hatz, Jürg Utzinger and Eliezer K. N'Goran

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 50, issue 9, pages 1205-1213
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Efficacy and Safety of Mefloquine, Artesunate, Mefloquine-Artesunate, and Praziquantel against Schistosoma haematobium: Randomized, Exploratory Open-Label Trial

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  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology
  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Microbiology


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Background. Morbidity control of schistosomiasis relies on a single drug, praziquantel. The antimalarial drug mefloquine possesses interesting antischistosomal properties, yet no clinical studies have been performed.

Methods. We conducted a randomized, exploratory open-label trial to assess the efficacy and safety of mefloquine (25 mg/kg), artesunate (3 doses of 4 mg/kg), mefloquine-artesunate (3 doses of 100 mg artesunate plus 250 mg mefloquine), and praziquantel (40 mg/kg) against Schistosoma haematobium. The effects on Schistosoma mansoni, malaria parasitemia, soil-transmitted helminths, and intestinal protozoa were also determined.

Results. A total of 83 S. haematobium-infected schoolchildren were included in the study. Cure rates of mefloquine, artesunate, mefloquine-artesunate, and praziquantel against S. haematobium at day 26 after treatment were 21%, 25%, 61%, and 88%, respectively. Both mefloquine-artesunate and praziquantel resulted in egg reduction rates >95%. Significantly lower egg reduction rates were seen in the artesunate (85%) and mefloquine groups (74%). In children coinfected with S. mansoni, praziquantel and mefloquine-artesunate, but not mefloquine and artesunate alone, resulted in high cure rates and egg reduction rates. Mefloquine, artesunate, and mefloquine-artesunate completely cured infections due to Plasmodium falciparum. No effects were found against soil-transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoa. Abdominal pain was the most frequent adverse event, with a higher incidence among children treated with mefloquine (89%), mefloquine-artesunate (83%), and artesunate (60%) than among children treated with praziquantel (46%).

Conclusions. The high efficacy of mefloquine-artesunate against S. haematobium warrants further investigation. Individuals coinfected with Plasmodium and Schistosoma who were treated with a mefloquine-artesunate combination against malaria might have a dual benefit: clearance of malaria parasitemia and reduction of schistosomiasisrelated morbidity.

Clinical trials registration. Current Controlled Trials identifier: ISRCTN06498763.

Journal Article.  4440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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