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Antihistamine Could also be used as a Potential Antimalarial Drug

chloroquine-sensitive mice and 40 percent reductions in chloroquine-resistant mice. Higher doses completely eliminated Plasmodium infection.

Astemizole was voluntarily withdrawn from the U.S. and European markets in 1999 after 15 years of use when sales became sluggish after warnings about the drug’s safety and the introduction of newer antihistamines. The drug was reported to cause rare, but life-threatening heart arrhythmias when patients took an overdose or with drugs that affected its metabolism. However, arrhythmias are also reported with existing malaria drugs and other antihistamines now sold over the counter. Astemizole is currently still used in 30 countries, including Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam where malaria is endemic.

Human studies are planned to evaluate the effectiveness of astemizole directly in asymptomatic malaria patients, a process that will be accelerated by the fact that the medication has been through an approval process. The researchers hope to next validate this new drug class for use in combination with existing malaria drugs like artemisinin or the quinolines.

The Johns Hopkins Clinical Compound Library will now be available to screen existing drugs for new uses for diseases affecting the developing world. “This line of research can be applied to many neglected diseases,” said Chong, the lead author of the study.

(Source: Nwswise)
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