Relationship between weight status and anti-malarial drug efficacy and safety in children in Mali

Moussa Djimde, Hanen Samouda, Julien Jacobs, Hamidou Niangaly, Mamadou Tekete, Seydou B. Sombie, Erick Josephat Mgina, Bakary Fofana, Issaka Sagara, Ogobara K. Doumbo, Michel Vaillant, Abdoulaye A. Djimde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Anti-malarial treatments effectiveness remains a critical challenge for control programmes. However, when drug efficacy is established, the dose is calculated based on a predefined weight according to the patient age. Based on the hypothesis that the standard assumption of weight according to the age when administering the drug could lead to a therapeutic failure potentially due to under-dosing (in the case of overweight) or over-dosing (in case of underweight). In this study, the relationship between weight status and malaria drug efficacy in clearing current Plasmodium falciparum infection and preventing reinfection after treatment was investigated. Methods: Data were drown from a clinical trial conducted previously to investigate malaria drug efficacy in 749 children from Mali (2002-2004). Participants were treated either with artesunate + amodiaquine (AS + AQ, n1 = 250), artesunate + sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS + SP, n2 = 248) or artesunate (AS, n3 = 251) and followed for 28 days after treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) z-score was used to define weight status. A Chi square test was used to compare outcomes according to drugs, weight status and the dynamic of ALAT, ASAT, creatinine and haemoglobin level. Logistic regression models were developed to determine the effect of baseline parameters (weight status, aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, creatinine and haemoglobin level) on drug efficacy as per WHO criteria. Results: Without molecular correction, in AS + AQ arm, the rate of adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) was higher in the group of underweight children 94.74% compared to children with normal and overweight (91.24% and 80.43% respectively, p = 0.03). After PCR correction, treatment efficacy was similar in the three groups of patients and was above 98% (p = 0.4). Overweight was observed to have no impact on recrudescence. However, it was associated with an increased risk of new infections in the (AS + AQ) arm (OR = 0.21, 95% CI [0.06; 0.86], p = 0.03). Conclusions: The findings suggest that weight deficiency has no deleterious effect on anti-malarial drug efficacy. An increase in the rate of reinfection in overweight children treated by AS + AQ should be further explored in larger studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2019


  • Children
  • Malaria
  • Mali
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Weight status


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