22 Oct 2009

Solomons warning about outdated malaria drug

1:50 pm on 22 October 2009

Health authorities in Solomon Islands are warning people not to take an outdated malaria drug which could lead to treatment failure or even death.

Dr Lyndes Wini, the medical officer for the Health Ministry's vector borne disease control prgramme, says they are advising people to use a new combination drug, coartem, which is very effective in treating malaria.

He says another drug, artemedine, has been available in many shops in Solomon Islands for some time, but it only contains one active ingredient, artemether, which is not as effective.

"If we do have artemether or artemedine resistance in Solomon Islands it just means there will be more treatment failures. It's not as effective as if you were to use a new drug regime, putting lives at risk if they develop severe malaria as a result of not adequately treating the simple, uncomplicated malaria."

Dr Wini says coartem was launched in Solomon Islands in December, and is now being distributed to all health facilities free of charge.