Argemone mexicana decoction versus artesunate-amodiaquine for the management of malaria in Mali: policy and public-health implications
Graz B., Willcox ML., Diakite C., Falquet J., Dackuo F., Sidibe O., Giani S., Diallo D.
A classic way of delaying drug resistance is to use an alternative when possible. We tested the malaria treatment Argemone mexicana decoction (AM), a validated self-prepared traditional medicine made with one widely available plant and safe across wide dose variations. In an attempt to reflect the real situation in the home-based management of malaria in a remote Malian village, 301 patie nts with presumed uncomplicated malaria (median age 5 years) were randomly assigned to receive AM or artesunate-amodiaquine [artemisinin combination therapy (ACT)] as first-line treatment. Both treatments were well tolerated. Over 28 days, second-line treatment was not required for 89% (95% CI 84.1-93.2) of patients on AM, versus 95% (95% CI 88.8-98.3) on ACT. Deterioration to severe malaria was 1.9% in both groups in children aged ≤5 years (there were no cases in patients aged > 5 years) and 0% had coma/convulsions. AM, now government-approved in Mali, could be tested as a first-line complement to standard modern drugs in high-transmission areas, in order to reduce the drug pressure for development of resistance to ACT, in the management of malaria. In view of the low rate of severe malaria and good tolerability, AM may also constitute a first-aid treatment when access to other antimalarials is delayed. © 2009 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.