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Artemisinins in malaria treatment in the UK

Abstract

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by protozoal parasites of the genus Plasmodium.1 2 It is mainly a problem in developing countries, and cases in the UK involve travellers coming from endemic areas.2 Resistance is increasing to several antimalarial drugs (e.g. chloroquine, mefloquine, antifolates).1 3 4 Another group of drugs, known as artemisinins, have come into widespread use more recently.1 5 6 An oral artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) is now one of the standard licensed treatments for uncomplicated malaria in the UK.7 8 However, the parenteral artemisinin for severe malaria, artesunate, is not licensed in developed countries.9 Here we consider the role of artemisinins as treatment for malaria in the UK.

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