The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Artemether-Lumefantrine (Coartem) for Treatment of Malaria
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The FDA has approved artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem – Novartis) for oral treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. It is not approved for prophylaxis. Artemether-lumefantrine is the first artemisinin-based drug approved for use in the US. Artemisinins are Chinese herbal products used worldwide to treat malaria. The intravenous formulation of artesunate, another artemisinin, is available in the US through the CDC.1

ACTIVITY AND RESISTANCE — Both artemether and lumefantrine inhibit nucleic acid and protein biosynthesis. In the erythrocytic stages of P. falciparum, artemether acts rapidly to reduce the number of parasites. Lumefantrine, which is longer acting than artemether, reduces the number of residual parasites. Both are less effective against P. vivax. Reduced susceptibility to artesunate, characterized by slow parasite clearance in ... more      

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