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Primaquine in vivax malaria: an update and review on management issues

Deepika Fernando1*, Chaturaka Rodrigo2 and Senaka Rajapakse2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, 25, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8, Sri Lanka

2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:351  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-351

Published: 12 December 2011


Primaquine was officially licensed as an anti-malarial drug by the FDA in 1952. It has remained the only FDA licensed drug capable of clearing the intra-hepatic schizonts and hypnozoites of Plasmodium vivax. This update and review focuses on five major aspects of primaquine use in treatment of vivax malaria, namely: a) evidence of efficacy of primaquine for its current indications; b) potential hazards of its widespread use, c) critical analysis of reported resistance against primaquine containing regimens; d) evidence for combining primaquine with artemisinins in areas of chloroquine resistance; and e) the potential for replacement of primaquine with newer drugs.

Primaquine; Plasmodium vivax; Vivax Malaria; Prophylaxis; Radical cure