Anti-malarial drug mefloquine can be taken by pregnant women

Researchers find no differences between infants exposed to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine or mefloquine with regards to morbidity and mortality.

Close up of the Anopheles mosquito, a vector for the malaria parasite, feeding on a human

The World Health Organization recommends sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) for malaria prevention in pregnancy. But with increasing resistance to the drug in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers need to know if alternative drug mefloquine (MQ) impacts infant health during pregnancy. 

Researchers carried out a randomised trial in four sub-Saharan countries in which they assessed infants whose mothers received SP (n=1,432) or MQ (n=2,815) during pregnancy. 

At one, nine and twelve months old, there was no significant difference between the two groups of infants with regards to nutrition and morbidity or mortality. With the exception of the nine-month age group, psychomotor development was also comparable between the groups. 

Writing in PLoS Medicine (online, 23 February 2016)[1]
, the researchers say their findings are particularly important as MQ is recommended for malaria prophylaxis in pregnant women travelling to malaria-endemic countries.


[1] Rupérez M, González R, Mombo-Ngoma G, et al. Mortality, morbidity, and developmental outcomes in infants born to women who received either mefloquine or sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine as intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy: a cohort study. PLoS Medicine 2016; doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001964

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, Anti-malarial drug mefloquine can be taken by pregnant women;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200836

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