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Argemone mexicana (AM), a validated herbal medicine for uncomplicated malaria, seems to prevent severe malaria without completely clearing parasites in most patients. This study, in a high transmission area of South Mali, explores whether residual parasitaemia at day 28 was associated with subsequent malaria episodes and/or anaemia.Three hundred and one patients were randomly assigned to AM or artesunate/amodiaquine as first line treatment, of whom 294 were followed up beyond the standard 28 days, to 84 days. From day 29 to day 84, there were no significant differences between treatment groups in new clinical episodes of uncomplicated malaria (0.33 vs 0.31 episodes/patient), severe malaria ( < 6% per month of patients aged ≤5 years) or moderate anaemia (hematocrit < 24%: 1.1% in both groups at day 84). Total parasite clearance at day 28 was not correlated with incidence of uncomplicated or severe malaria or of moderate anaemia over the subsequent two months.Total parasite clearance at day 28 was not clinically important in the context of high transmission. If this finding can be confirmed, some antimalarials which are clinically effective but do not completely clear parasites could nevertheless be appropriate in high transmission areas. Such a policy could be tested as a way to delay resistance to artemisinin combination therapies. © 2010 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Original publication




Journal article


Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Publication Date





23 - 31