Purpose of review: Despite the current success of artemisinin combination therapy, the threat of drug-resistant falciparum malaria remains severe. Reversal of resistance to old drugs remains one strategy to deal with this problem. This review highlights recent significant findings.
Recent findings: This review provides a brief description of current antimalarials, their known or putative targets and mechanisms of resistance (where applicable). The main focus is recent reports on chloroquine resistance-reversing agents, including primaquine, so-called 'reversed chloroquines', novel resistance reversers such as xanthenes and two new mefloquine resistance-reversing compounds. A number of patents also report interesting new chloroquine resistance reversers, most notably HIV protease inhibitors. The review is confined to Plasmodium falciparum.
Summary: Only chlorpheniramine has so far shown some clinical utility as a chloroquine resistance reverser. Recent observations, however, that both primaquine and HIV protease inhibitors are chloroquine resistance reversers may eventually prove to be of clinical significance. 'Reversed chloroquines' are a scientifically innovative new class of antimalarial that both kill malaria parasites and have the potential to reverse resistance to their own antimalarial pharmacophore.