Children are most vulnerable to malaria. A pyronaridine-artesunate paediatric granule formulation is being developed for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
This phase III, multi-center, comparative, open-label, parallel-group, controlled clinical trial included patients aged [less than or equal to]12 years, bodyweight [greater than or equal to]5 to <25 kg, with a reported history of fever at inclusion or in the previous 24 h and microscopically-confirmed uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. Patients were randomized (2:1) to pyronaridine-artesunate granules (60/20 mg) once daily or artemether-lumefantrine crushed tablets (20/120 mg) twice daily, both dosed by bodyweight, orally (liquid suspension) for three days.
Of 535 patients randomized, 355 received pyronaridine-artesunate and 180 received artemether-lumefantrine. Day-28 adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR), corrected for re-infection using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping (per-protocol population) was 97.1% (329/339; 95% CI 94.6, 98.6) for pyronaridine-artesunate; 98.8% (165/167; 95% CI 95.7, 99.9) for artemether-lumefantrine. The primary endpoint was achieved: pyronaridine-artesunate PCR-corrected day-28 ACPR was statistically significantly >90% (P < .0001). Pyronaridine-artesunate was non-inferior to artemether-lumefantrine: treatment difference -1.8% (95% CI -4.3 to 1.6). The incidence of drug-related adverse events was 37.2% (132/355) with pyronaridine-artesunate, 44.4% (80/180) with artemetherlumefantrine. Clinical biochemistry results showed similar mean changes versus baseline in the two treatment groups. From day 3 until study completion, one patient in each treatment group had peak alanine aminotransferase (ALT) >3 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) and peak total bilirubin >2xULN (i.e. within the Hy's law definition).
The pyronaridine-artesunate paediatric granule formulation was efficacious and was noninferior to artemether-lumefantrine. The adverse event profile was similar for the two comparators. Pyronaridine-artesunate should be considered for inclusion in paediatric malaria treatment programmes. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov: identifier NCT00541385.
View the full article on the Malaria Journal website.