Malaria chemoprevention in the postdischarge management of severe anemia

Titus Kwambai, Aggrey Dhabangi, Richard Idro, Robert Opoka, Victoria Watson, Simon Kariuki, Nickline Kuya, Eric Onyango, Kephas Otieno, Aaron Samuels

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Background: Children who have been hospitalized with severe anemia in areas of Africa in which malaria is endemic have a high risk of readmission and death within 6 months after discharge. No prevention strategy specifically addresses this period.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter, two-group, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in nine hospitals in Kenya and Uganda to determine whether 3 months of malaria chemoprevention could reduce morbidity and mortality after hospital discharge in children younger than 5 years of age who had been admitted with severe anemia. All children received standard in-hospital care for severe anemia and a 3-day course of artemether-lumefantrine at discharge. Two weeks after discharge, children were randomly assigned to receive dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (chemoprevention group) or placebo, administered as 3-day courses at 2, 6, and 10 weeks after discharge. Children were followed for 26 weeks after discharge. The primary outcome was one or more hospital readmissions for any reason or death from the time of randomization to 6 months after discharge. Conditional risk-set modeling for recurrent events was used to calculate hazard ratios with the use of the Prentice-Williams-Peterson total-time approach.

Results: From May 2016 through May 2018, a total of 1049 children underwent randomization; 524 were assigned to the chemoprevention group and 525 to the placebo group. From week 3 through week 26, a total of 184 events of readmission or death occurred in the chemoprevention group and 316 occurred in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54 to 0.78; P

Conclusions: In areas with intense malaria transmission, 3 months of postdischarge malaria chemoprevention with monthly dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in children who had recently received treatment for severe anemia prevented more deaths or readmissions for any reason after discharge than placebo.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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