Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the three alternative combinations of drugs now recommended for the treatment of malaria in East Africa. They found that the drug combination that was the most expensive in the short term was in fact the most cost-effective, because its superior performance in curing malaria reduced the need for further treatment.
Resistance to malaria drugs is extremely common. The World Health Organization and other authorities now recommend the use of one of the new type of treatments (based on the Chinese drug artemisinin) combined with one of the older malaria drugs. It is thought that this combination approach will delay the appearance of artemisinin resistance. The combination of artemether and lumefantrine out-performed the other drug combinations in this research, which was conducted in Tanzania. The researchers say artemether and lumefantrine should be the preferred option in this part of Africa.
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Citation: Wiseman V, Kim M, Mutabingwa TK, Whitty CJM (2006) Cost-effectiveness study of three antimalarial drug combinations in Tanzania. PLoS Med 3(10): e373.
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