Medsafety: ASAQ (artesunate/amodiaquine)
ASAQ is an abbreviation for the antimalarial drug combination artesunate and amodiaquine. It is one of the cheapest and most accessible antimalarial drugs (950 XAF for an adult's complete treatment). When used properly it is very effective in treating uncomplicated (simple) malaria.
It should not be used for prevention of malaria. Treatment should be started confirmation of malaria by blood test. A rapid blood test costs about 500 XAF in public hospitals and results are gotten in 5-10 mins.
There are 4 different blister packs corresponding to 4 different categories of weight:
• 25 mg AS/67.5 mg AQ base tablet, blister pack of 3 tablets
• 50 mg AS/135 mg AQ base tablet, blister pack of 3 tablets
• 100 mg AS/270 mg AQ base tablet, blister pack of 3 tablets
• 100 mg AS/270 mg AQ base tablet, blister pack of 6 tablets
How to take ASAQ
Based on your weight one tablet is taken daily for 3 days. Completion of doses is necessary for complete treatment effectiveness. Try taking at the same time daily for example 9 am daily.
Do not use ASAQ if you are
- Allergic to ASAQ
- Pregnant (1st trimester)
- Having liver problems
- Having eye disease with damage to the retina
- Taking efavirenz (an anti-HIV medication)
ASAQ is relatively safe during breastfeeding
ASAQ is generally well tolerated. However the most common side effects that should be watched out for include
- Gastrointestinal disturbances: nausea, abdominal pain. Eat in small chunks and avoid fatty meals. Swallow medication with a drink of water. If patient vomits within an hour after ingesting medication, repeat dose. If vomiting persists, stop medication and inform your doctor/pharmacist.
- Dizziness and weakness: do not drive or work on heavy machinery when on this medication.
- Loss of appetite
In case you take more than one tablet in a day, you may start to experience visual disturbances, dizziness, convulsions, headaches. As soon as you realize you took more than the required number of tablets, inform your physician/pharmacist.
Keep out of sight and reach of children and store below 30°C.