Comparative efficacy of chloroquine and sulphadoxine – pyrimethamine in pregnant women and children: a meta-analysis
To compare the efficacy of chloroquine and sulphadoxine–pyremethamine against Plasmodium falciparum infection in pregnant women and in children from the same endemic areas of Africa, with the aim of determining the level of correspondence in efficacy determinations in these two risk groups. Methods
Meta-analysis of nine published and unpublished in vivo antimalarial efficacy studies in pregnant women and in children across five African countries. Results
Pregnant women (all gravidae) were more likely to be sensitive than children to both chloroquine (odds ratio: 2.07; 95% confidence interval: 1.5, 2.9) and sulphadoxine–pyrimethamine (odds ratio: 2.66; 95% confidence interval: 11.1, 6.7). Pregnant women demonstrated an almost uniform increased sensitivity for peripheral parasite clearance at day 14 compared with children. This finding was consistent across a wide range of drug sensitivities. Primigravidae at day 14 showed lower clearance to antimalarial drugs than multigravidae (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between parasite clearance in primigravidae and in children. Conclusion
The greater drug sensitivity in pregnant women probably indicates differences in host susceptibility rather than parasite resistance. Parasite sensitivity patterns in children may be a suitable guide to antimalarial policy in pregnant women.