Probably the most common antimalarial treatment option in Cameroon, artemether lumenfantrine formulations could be found with many different names.
Here are a few brand names (the most common)
Coartem, Bimalaril, Artefan, Cachart, Cofantrine, Combiart, and Laritem
It is a very effective medication used for the treatment (and not prevention) of non-severe malaria and also to complete the treatment for severe malaria (after the phase of injections)
1: It is mostly presented as tablets
Dose is based on weigh. Basically everyone can use the 20/120 presentation (meaning artemether 20mg and Lumefantrine 120mg) but to avoid taking many tablets, best to go for the presentation that suits your weight. The age in brackets are just approximates in case you don’t have the weight of your child. So if you weigh…
- 5Kg to less 15Kg (1-3 years aka nourrison/infant) take 20/120
- 15Kg to less than 25Kg (4-7 years aka enfant/child) take 40/240
- 25Kg to less than 35Kg (8-11 years aka adolescent) take 60/360
- Above 35Kg (above 12 years) take 80/480
The treatment is administered 2 times daily for 3 days. On day 1 of your treatment, you take the first dose (based on your age of course) and 8 hours later, you take the next dose. On day 2 and 3, you take the next doses 2 times a day i.e. morning and evening
For example, i a typical adult, say i take my first dose (1 tablet of 80/480) at 1pm on day 1, 8 hours later i.e. at 9pm i should take the next dose (1 tablet). The next days i would take one tablet in the morning (say 8am) and one tablet in the evening (say 6pm).
2: There are suspensions for children available.
These are my personal favorites for children because they are easy to take than regular tablets.
All you have to do is add some water to the powder in the bottle, shake until all the powder is dissolved. Add more water till the line mark on the bottle.
Shake each time before use. Use measuring spoon provided in packaging.
There are even dispersible tablets too. These tablets are to be dispersed in a small amount (5 to 10ml) of liquid (clean water or milk). That is about a teaspoon or tablespoon of water put in a clean container. They usually disperse within three minutes.
Handle the tablets with care as they are fragile, also make sure to use immediately you remove them from the blisters.
A little amount of medication may remain after swallowing, it is advisable to rinse it with a small amount of water or milk and swallow again.
Tip for children
If using the tablets, you may crush them (except for dispersible tablets) and mix in little water or baby formula (small quantity you are sure the baby would finish)
Artemether/Lumenfantrine does not mix well with some medicines or conditions so make you tell your health care provider about the medicines you take and if you have a heart disease or on birth control.
It is best taken with food or milk. Do not take it with grapefruit or its juice.
If you vomit with an hour after using you can take another dose. If you miss a dose, take as soon as you remember. Skip the dose if almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up.
You may experience some side effects like dizziness, loss of appetite, vomiting etc. which is pretty normal. However report to doctor in case of serious side effects like severe vomiting, allergies, fast heartbeats.
Remember to always read drug labels to be sure you are using your medications safely.
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.