My husband weighs and has malaria. He was told by the pharmacist to take 2 tablets stat, then 1 daily for five days followed by 3 Fansidar tablets. We live in Papua New Guinea. I see on the Duo-Cotecxin web site the dose is three tabs daily. Which is correct?
Fansidar is a very different drug to Duo-Cotecxin—it is made of a combination of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine, whereas Duo-Cotecxin is an artemisisin-based combination therapy (ACT), consisting of dihydroartemisinin together with piperaquine. As such, the dosages and time courses of therapy are likely to be different. However, Fansidar is not usually recommended as treatment anymore—it appears to have low efficacy against Plasmodium vivax and in the 1980s and 1990s, the World Health Organisation and Center for Disease Control (CDC in the US) only recommended it for use against chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum.
However, nowadays, both organisations recommend ACTs (like Duo-Cotexcin) to treat all uncomplicated P. falciparum infection as well. Therefore, unless your husband has been diagnosed with P. ovale or P. malariae malaria (both of which are sometimes found in PNG), Fansidar probably should not have been the first-line treatment given to him. Keep a close watch over his recovery, and if there is any sign of reccurrence of the symptoms, go back to the doctor for another malaria test.