We compared the efficacy of azithromycin to the clinical antimalarial doxycycline in Plasmodium berghei-infected mice and in P. falciparum-infected Aotus monkeys. When mice were administered drug orally twice a day for three days, the minimum total dose of azithromycin that cured all mice was 768 mg/kg. Doxycycline at a dose of 1,536 mg/kg cured no mice. The efficacy of fast-acting blood schizonticides (quinine, halofantrine, artemisinin) against P. berghei was augmented by azithromycin. In monkey experiments in which there were two animals per experimental group, azithromycin (100 mg/kg/day for seven days) eliminated parasitemia; azithromycin (30 mg/kg/day) initially cleared 99.8-100% of the parasites with recrudescence in the one completely cleared case. Doxycycline (30 mg/kg/day) cleared 100% of the parasites with recrudescence in both cleared cases. Since azithromycin can be clinically administered at a somewhat higher daily dosage than doxycycline, the data suggest that it may be possible to replace drugs of the tetracycline class with azithromycin in combination with fast-acting blood schizonticides for the treatment of P. falciparum infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases