Mefloquine. A review of its antimalarial activity, pharmacokinetic properties and therapeutic efficacy.
Mefloquine is an orally administered blood schizontocide. Initial dose-finding and comparative studies performed between 1977 and 1989 demonstrated efficacy of mefloquine as prophylaxis in nonimmune individuals and in the suppression and treatment of malaria in adults and children caused by multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. It was also effective against P. vivax infection, while data concerning the treatment of P. ovale and P. malariae infections were limited. In an attempt to delay the emergence of resistance to this promising antimalarial agent, mefloquine was combined with sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine. Although initial clinical trials indicated that this regimen was effective in preventing and treating falciparum malaria, recent treatment failures, the potential for severe dermatological reactions and lack of therapeutic advantage over mefloquine alone has prompted the World Health Organization to recommended that the combination be no longer used for treatment or prophylaxis of malaria. Mefloquine is generally well tolerated in both adults and children, with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, rash, pruritus and abdominal pain being the most common adverse effects, although it is difficult to distinguish between disease- and treatment-related events. The incidence of these adverse effects is similar to or lower than those observed with other antimalarial agents. Cardiovascular changes, such as bradycardia, occasionally occur. The most notable adverse effects associated with mefloquine are neuropsychiatric disturbances; precipitation of such events should be closely monitored and requires termination of prophylaxis or therapy. The eventual emergence of resistance to mefloquine, as with many other antimalarial agents, was inevitable. Mefloquine resistance is established in certain areas of Thailand and may be becoming a growing problem in other regions of the world. In order to preserve the efficacy of mefloquine in non-resistant areas, this useful agent should be used with care and only prescribed for prophylaxis in travellers and treatment in areas of multidrug-resistant plasmodia. Future options to combat mefloquine resistance may include the combination of mefloquine with other antimalarial agents such as qinghaosu derivatives. Thus, with cautious use and possible combination with other agents, mefloquine is likely to remain an important treatment option for falciparum malaria, a widespread parasitic disease for which an increasing number of drugs have proved inadequate.
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- DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199345030-00009
- ADIS International : 저널
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