Efficacy of Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine Against Uncomplicated P. falciparum and P. vivax in Cambodia, 2008 to 2010

February 2013
Rithea Leang, Amy Barrette, Denis Mey Bouth, Didier Menard, Rashid Abdur, Socheat Duong, Pascal Ringwald

We describe here the results of antimalarial therapeutic efficacy studies conducted in Cambodia from 2008 to 2010. A total of 15 studies in four sentinel sites were conducted using dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum infection and chloroquine (CQ) and DP for the treatment of P. vivax infection. All studies were performed according to the standard World Health Organization protocol for the assessment of antimalarial treatment efficacy. Among the studies of DP for the treatment of P. falciparum, an increase in treatment failure was observed in the western provinces. In 2010, the PCR-corrected treatment failure rates for DP on day 42 were 25% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 10 to 51%) in Pailin and 10.7% (95% CI = 4 to 23%) in Pursat, while the therapeutic efficacy of DP remained high (100%) in Ratanakiri and Preah Vihear provinces, located in northern and eastern Cambodia. For the studies of P. vivax, the day 28 uncorrected treatment failure rate among patients treated with CQ ranged from 4.4 to 17.4%; DP remained 100% effective in all sites. Further study is required to investigate suspected P. falciparum resistance to piperaquine in western Cambodia; the results of in vitro and molecular studies were not found to support the therapeutic efficacy findings. The emergence of artemisinin resistance in this region has likely put additional pressure on piperaquine. Although DP appears to be an appropriate new first-line treatment for P. vivax in Cambodia, alternative treatments are urgently needed for P. falciparum-infected patients in western Cambodia.