Improving the availability of artesunate for treatment of severe malaria

Nicholas M Anstey, Ric N Price and Nicholas J White
Med J Aust 2006; 184 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00084.x
Published online: 2 January 2006

Artesunate reduces mortality and should now be the treatment of choice in severe malaria in adults: good news for countries in our region, but registration in Australia must wait

For nearly 400 years quinine has been the principal drug used to treat severe malaria. Despite its long history of efficacy, quinine has significant limitations. Even with prompt administration, case-fatality rates in severe malaria often exceed 20%.1 Furthermore, quinine requires three-times-daily administration and has a number of adverse effects including hypoglycaemia, vomiting, headache and tinnitus.1

  • Nicholas M Anstey1
  • Ric N Price2
  • Nicholas J White3

  • 1 Infectious Diseases Division, Menzies School of Health Research and Royal Darwin Hospital, Casuarina, NT.
  • 2 SE Asian Wellcome Trust Units, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand.


Competing interests:

Nicholas Anstey is supported by a NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship. Ric Price is supported by a Wellcome Trust Career Development Award, and has received travel assistance from Novartis. Nicholas White is chairman of the WHO antimalarial treatment guidelines committee. All authors were investigators in the SEAQUAMAT Study.


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