Safety and mosquitocidal efficacy of high-dose ivermectin when co-administered with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in Kenyan adults with uncomplicated malaria (IVERMAL): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Menno R. Smit, Eric O. Ochomo, Ghaith Aljayyoussi, Titus K. Kwambai, Bernard O. Abong'o, Tao Chen, Teun Bousema, Hannah C. Slater, David Waterhouse, Nabie M. Bayoh, John E. Gimnig, Aaron M. Samuels, Meghna R. Desai, Penelope A. Phillips-Howard, Simon K. Kariuki, Duolao Wang, Steve A. Ward, Feiko O. ter Kuile

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Background: Ivermectin is being considered for mass drug administration for malaria due to its ability to kill mosquitoes feeding on recently treated individuals. However, standard, single doses of 150–200 μg/kg used for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis have a short-lived mosquitocidal effect (<7 days). Because ivermectin is well tolerated up to 2000 μg/kg, we aimed to establish the safety, tolerability, and mosquitocidal efficacy of 3 day courses of high-dose ivermectin, co-administered with a standard malaria treatment. Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, superiority trial at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (Kisumu, Kenya). Adults (aged 18–50 years) were eligible if they had confirmed symptomatic uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria and agreed to the follow-up schedule. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1) using sealed envelopes, stratified by sex and body-mass index (men: <21 vs ≥21 kg/m 2 ; women: <23 vs ≥23 kg/m 2 ), with permuted blocks of three, to receive 3 days of ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day, ivermectin 600 μg/kg per day, or placebo, all co-administered with 3 days of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Blood of patients taken on post-treatment days 0, 2 + 4 h, 7, 10, 14, 21, and 28 was fed to laboratory-reared Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto mosquitoes, and mosquito survival was assessed daily for 28 days after feeding. The primary outcome was 14-day cumulative mortality of mosquitoes fed 7 days after ivermectin treatment (from participants who received at least one dose of study medication). The study is registered with, number NCT02511353. Findings: Between July 20, 2015, and May 7, 2016, 741 adults with malaria were assessed for eligibility, of whom 141 were randomly assigned to receive ivermectin 600 μg/kg per day (n=47), ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day (n=48), or placebo (n=46). 128 patients (91%) attended the primary outcome visit 7 days post treatment. Compared with placebo, ivermectin was associated with higher 14 day post-feeding mosquito mortality when fed on blood taken 7 days post treatment (ivermectin 600 μg/kg per day risk ratio [RR] 2·26, 95% CI 1·93–2·65, p<0·0001; hazard ratio [HR] 6·32, 4·61–8·67, p<0·0001; ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day RR 2·18, 1·86–2·57, p<0·0001; HR 4·21, 3·06–5·79, p<0·0001). Mosquito mortality remained significantly increased 28 days post treatment (ivermectin 600 μg/kg per day RR 1·23, 1·01–1·50, p=0·0374; and ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day 1·21, 1·01–1·44, p=0·0337). Five (11%) of 45 patients receiving ivermectin 600 μg/kg per day, two (4%) of 48 patients receiving ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day, and none of 46 patients receiving placebo had one or more treatment-related adverse events. Interpretation: Ivermectin at both doses assessed was well tolerated and reduced mosquito survival for at least 28 days after treatment. Ivermectin 300 μg/kg per day for 3 days provided a good balance between efficacy and tolerability, and this drug shows promise as a potential new tool for malaria elimination. Funding: Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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