New prophylactic drugs against malaria infections are urgently needed. We conducted randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trials of a new antimalarial drug combination, naphthoquine-azithromycin (NQAZ), to determine its safety and protective efficacy in a low-endemicity area of Southeast Asia. In the first trial, 127 healthy volunteers were randomized to receive two single doses of either 400 mg of NQAZ (200 mg of each drug), 800 mg of NQAZ (400 mg of each drug), or placebo on day 0 and day 30. Weekly follow-ups were performed for 2 months, and physical and clinical laboratory exams were done during the second and eighth week. Both drug regimens were well tolerated, without any serious adverse events. Four adverse events (transient and slight elevations of serum transaminase concentrations) were found only in the two drug-treated groups and thus might be drug-related. In the second trial, 353 volunteer villagers were randomized into the same three groups as in the first trial, and malaria infections were followed for a month. For the intention-to-treat analysis, both regimens offered greater than 90% prophylactic efficacies against all malaria infections. When the analysis was done according to parasite species, 400 mg and 800 mg NQAZ provided 81.63 and 90.59% prophylactic efficacies, respectively, against Plasmodium falciparum infections, whereas both offered 100% prophylactic efficacy against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale. These trials showed that NQAZ had a good safety profile, and monthly single doses of 400 mg or 800 mg for adults offered excellent prophylaxis against malaria infections, especially the two relapsing species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases