Artemisinin derivatives, such as artesunate, have a short half-life and very rapid anti-malarial activity. Theoretically, using such agents in conjunction with well-established anti-malarial drugs such as sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine may reduce the rate of drug resistance. Such a combination has not previously been used in Africa. We have conducted a pilot safety trial of artesunate (4 mg/kg for 3 days) given with a single dose of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (25 mg/kg sulfadoxine) compared to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone among 40 Gambian children with uncomplicated malaria. Both regimens were safe and well tolerated and there were no adverse experiences attributed to the combination. The addition of artesunate resulted in a higher proportion of afebrile children and children with a negative blood film on Day 2, and a reduction in the proportion of gametocyte carriers, when compared to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine alone.