Current knowledge and challenges of antimalarial drugs for treatment and prevention in pregnancy

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Jun;11(8):1277-93. doi: 10.1517/14656561003733599.


Importance of the field: Malaria infection during pregnancy is a major public health problem worldwide, with 50 million pregnancies exposed to the infection every year. Approximately 25,000 maternal deaths and between 75,000 and 200,000 infant deaths could be prevented each year by effective malaria control in pregnancy. Antimalarial drug treatment and prevention has been hampered by the appearance of drug resistance, which has been a particular problem in pregnancy due to the inherent safety issues.

Areas covered in this review: New antimalarial drugs and combinations are being studied but there is not yet sufficient information on their efficacy or, more importantly, on their safety in pregnancy. This article provides an overview of the relevance of the topic and reviews the current antimalarial drugs recommended for pregnancy, as well as the guidelines for both treatment and prevention in women living in endemic areas and for travellers.

What the reader will gain: Updated information on the drugs currently used for malaria treatment and prevention in pregnancy, including new drugs under development, is provided. The gaps on efficacy and safety information for use during pregnancy are also discussed.

Take home message: Prevention and case management of malaria during pregnancy is based on risk-benefit criteria and poses one of the greatest challenges to current malaria control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance / drug effects
  • Endemic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Mosquito Control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / prevention & control


  • Antimalarials