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Breaking news: CDC announces shortage of antimalarial drug primaquine

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that the antimalarial drug primaquine is not available until September, 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned this week that the antimalarial drug primaquine is not available until September, 2011.

Primaquine’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, reported the drug shortage to the CDC. Sanofi-Aventis representatives did not respond to Formulary’s request for comment.

“Primaquine is the only drug that can be used to eliminate hypnozoites, the dormant forms of malaria parasites,” the CDC said in a statement. Still, healthcare providers may choose to maintain persons at risk of relapse on weekly chloroquine prophylaxis until primaquine is available again.

“Additionally, during the shortage, primaquine should not be prescribed for primary chemoprophylaxis,” the CDC stated.

Besides primaquine and chloroquine, medications recommended to treat malaria include atovaquone/proguanil, doxyclycline, and mefloquine.

Nearly 82 million malaria cases were reported worldwide in 2009, with the highest prevalence in Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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