Comparing Hydroxychloroquine and Pyrimethamine With Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine to Treat Plasmodium berghei Infection in Mice

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Background: Malaria is caused by a parasitic protozoan called Plasmodium with an estimated mortality rate of one million people annually and it is estimated that half of the world's population are at risk for this disease. Objectives: The current study aimed to compare the effect of hydroxychloroquine and pyrimethamine with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to treat Plasmodium berghei infection in mice. Pyrimethamine, hydroxychloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine were used in the current study. Methods: Four groups of mice each including nine mice were selected. The mice were infected by intraperitoneally injection of Plasmodium berghei infected red blood cells. One group was considered as a positive control and three other ones received each one of the drugs. On days 4, 7, 14, 21 and 28, a blood smear was prepared from each mouse, stained with Giemsa and the parasitemia rate was calculated. Results: Parasitemia in the positive control group showed an increase on days four and seven at a level of 5.9% and 23.7%, respectively, which was statistically significant compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). The parasitemia remarkably decreased in the group receiving sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine than in the one taking pyrimethamine (P < 0.05). In addition, the mortality rate in mice treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was lower than those of the other groups (P < 0.05). The survival time in the group treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was 28 days on average and in the group treated with pyrimethamine and hydroxychloroquine were 15.56 and 26.44 days, respectively. Conclusions: The results of the article suggested that malaria treatment strategy shifts completely from the monotherapy; therefore, the combination drugs should be used for this purpose, especially in endemic areas.