A Comparative Study of Quinine and Artemether in the Treatment of Severe Malaria in Nigerian Children
Purpose: Nigeria has adopted quinine as the drug of first choice in the treatment of severe malaria and artemether as an alternative therapy. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether artemether is a comparable alternative to quinine in the management of severe malaria in Nigerian children. Methods: We conducted a randomized prospective study comparing quinine and artemether therapies in 90 Nigerian children with severe malaria. Results: Mortality was lower in quinine group (13.0 %) than artemether (15.9 %), Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.446 (95 % Confidence Interval (CI), 0.124 to 1.603, p = 0.249 ). The parasitaemia clearance on day 3 by quinine and artemether was 96.8 and 99.0 % (p = 0.422), respectively, while on day 14 it was 100 % for both medicines. Fever clearance by quinine and artemether was 87.7 and 90 % (p = 0.753), respectively, on day 3 but it increased to 100 and 96.42 % (p = 0.072), respectively, on day 14. For the quinine group, 71.74 % of the patients spent less than one week in the hospital versus 61.76 % for the artemether group (p = 0.829, OR = 0.883, 95 %CI = 0.284 to 2.742). Conclusion: Artemether is a comparable alternative to quinine in the treatment of severe paediatric malaria.
Key words: Artemether; Nigerian children; Paediatric; Quinine; Severe malaria.
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