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BACKGROUND: Late treatment failures after artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for falciparum malaria have increased in the Greater Mekong subregion in southeast Asia. Addition of amodiaquine to artemether-lumefantrine could provide an efficacious treatment for multidrug-resistant infections. METHODS: We conducted an open-label, randomised trial at five hospitals or health centres in three locations (western Cambodia, eastern Cambodia, and Vietnam). Eligible participants were male and female patients aged 2-65 years with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Patients were randomly allocated (1:1 in blocks of eight to 12) to either artemether-lumefantrine alone (dosed according to WHO guidelines) or artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine (10 mg base per kg/day), both given orally as six doses over 3 days. All received a single dose of primaquine (0·25 mg/kg) 24 h after the start of study treatment to limit transmission of the parasite. Parasites were genotyped, identifying artemisinin resistance. The primary outcome was Kaplan-Meier 42-day PCR-corrected efficacy against recrudescence of the original parasite, assessed by intent-to-treat. Safety was a secondary outcome. This completed trial is registered at (NCT03355664). FINDINGS: Between March 18, 2018, and Jan 30, 2020, 310 patients received randomly allocated treatment; 154 received artemether-lumefantrine alone and 156 received artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine. Parasites from 305 of these patients were genotyped. 42-day PCR-corrected treatment efficacy was noted in 151 (97%, 95% CI 92-99) of 156 patients with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus 146 (95%, 89-97) of 154 patients with artemether-lumefantrine alone; hazard ratio (HR) for recrudescence 0·6 (95% CI 0·2-1·9, p=0·38). Of the 13 recrudescences, 12 were in 174 (57%) of 305 infections with pfkelch13 mutations indicating artemisinin resistance, for which 42-day efficacy was noted in 89 (96%) of 93 infections with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus 73 (90%) of 81 infections with artemether-lumefantrine alone; HR for recrudescence 0·44 (95% CI 0·14-1·40, p=0·17). Artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine was generally well tolerated, but the number of mild (grade 1-2) adverse events, mainly gastrointestinal, was greater in this group compared with artemether-lumefantrine alone (vomiting, 12 [8%] with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine vs three [2%] with artemether-lumefantrine alone, p=0·03; and nausea, 11 [7%] with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine vs three [2%] with artemether-lumefantrine alone, p=0·05). Early vomiting within 1 h of treatment, requiring retreatment, occurred in no patients of 154 with artemether-lumefantrine alone versus five (3%) of 156 with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine, p=0·06. Bradycardia (≤54 beats/min) of any grade was noted in 59 (38%) of 154 patients with artemether-lumefantrine alone and 95 (61%) of 156 with artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine, p=0·0001. INTERPRETATION: Artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine provides an alternative to artemether-lumefantrine alone as first-line treatment for multidrug-resistant P falciparum malaria in the Greater Mekong subregion, and could prolong the therapeutic lifetime of artemether-lumefantrine in malaria-endemic populations. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Infect Dis

Publication Date





867 - 878


Amodiaquine, Antimalarials, Artemether, Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination, Artemisinins, Drug Combinations, Ethanolamines, Female, Fluorenes, Humans, Malaria, Malaria, Falciparum, Male, Plasmodium falciparum, Recurrence, Vomiting