WHO approves injectable artesunate 30mg & 120mg

Treatment for severe malaria now in a range of doses

24 May 2013

30mg and 120mg packs of Guilin Pharmaceutical’s treatment for severe malaria, Artesun, have been prequalified by the World Health Organization. This approval now increases the range of doses available for this life-saving medicine to malaria-endemic countries that previously only had access to 60mg packs.

The administration of injectable artesunate is based on the weight of the patient and requires 2.4mg/kg of artesunate reconstituted with sodium bicarbonate and diluted with saline. Once a vial of artesunate is opened and used, the remaining reconstituted solution must be discarded, potentially resulting in wastage of the drug. Using the 30mg and 120mg packs now allows the HCW flexibility to tailor to right dose for the patient and considerably reduce wastage.

Severe malaria is a medical emergency and is fatal if untreated. Every year 655,000 to 1.2 million people die of malaria, 86% of whom are children under the age of 5. The WHO strongly recommends injectable artesunate in preference to quinine for the treatment of severe P. falciparum malaria in both children and adults.