Drug Resistance: Malaria Treatment Methods to Change
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03 June 2010
The incidence of drug resistance to plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria cases from certain parts of the state has caused the health department to change the treatment methods. Conventionally used chloroquine will be replaced with artemisinin–based combination therapy (ACT) which has proved successful in treatment of drug resistant forms of malaria.
“The advisory committee at Union health ministry had recommended use of ACT in all cases of PF malaria in Rajasthan, a demand for the new drugs has accordingly been forwarded to the Union health ministry,” said Dr B R Meena, additional director, health department.
Resistance of plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria to older anti–malarial drugs, including chloroquine was first sighted in the western Pacific region in 1970s. However, it was only recently that such cases were reported from certain villages in Baran and some other parts of the state. The ACT was discovered useful in treatment of malaria PF cases in these areas. The Centre has accordingly asked for the therapy to be implemented in the state.
“ACT is considered the best therapy for treatment of falciparum malaria. It is effective, rapid, and have little adverse effects. Due to the difference in working of these drugs at molecular level, resistance to the drug will take considerable time to evolve,” said a health department official.
Health officials are unable to comment on the reason for incidence of resistance in malaria PF. Improper treatment and use of substandard drugs is believed to be a major reason. However, the therapy is said to be completely successful in treatment of such cases. Work on prevention of malaria has been intensified before the arrival of monsoon.