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Year : 1997  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-75

Artemisinin: current status in malaria



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N Valecha


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The herb Artemisia annua has been used for treatment of fever in China for more than thousand years. Artemisinin (qinghaosu), a sesquiterpene lactone is the active principle of Artemisia annua. Its peroxide configuration is responsible for its antimalarial activity. Artemisinin and its derivatives are very rapidly effective against malarial parasites including multidrug resistant strains of P.falciparum but recrudescences are commonly reported, suggesting that these drugs should not be used alone for the treatment of faiciparum malaria. Although administered to over one million people all over the world, no clinical resistance or serious adverse effects have been reported. In pregnancy artemisinin derivatives should not be used as primary drug for uncomplicated malaria but they can be used for severe infections in areas of multidrua resistance. They should be reserved for curative treatment " and not be used for prophylaxis.






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