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Artemether - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Artemether: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Artemether?

Artemether is an antimalarial drug to treat malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. Specifically, it treats acute uncomplicated malaria and chloroquine-resistant malaria. Mostly, the drug is administered via an intramuscular injection. For improved efficacy, Artemether is given in combination with Lumefantrine and is available in the market by the trade name – Coartem. The drug’s effectiveness is enhanced when taken with food, especially those rich in fat twice a day for three days.

What are the Uses of Artemether?

Artemether is an Artemisinin derivative that treats acute and chloroquine-resistant malaria in both infants and adults. Malaria is a parasitic infection where Plasmodium parasites enter the body and reside to multiply in the liver or red blood cells. Artemether prevents the multiplication of these parasites in the red blood cells. In order to enhance the drug’s effect of inhibiting parasitic multiplication, it is used in combination with another antimalarial drug called Lumefantrine. Follow your medical practitioner’s advice for optimum dosage.

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What are the Side Effects of Artemether?

Artemether is usually safe and does not cause any serious side effects in most patients. However, when taken beyond the prescribed dose or along with any other drug that interferes with Artemether, it may cause some of the below side effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Itching
  • Breathlessness

Speak with your medical practitioner about your medical history before taking Artemether. If you experience any of the side effects mentioned above, speak with your medical practitioner.

At Yashoda Hospitals, we have a dedicated team of pharmacists and specialists to analyze your medical history and advice on what drugs are and are not safe for you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Artemether

1. Is Artemether safe in the first trimester?

Artemether is safe to be taken for your malarial infection during the first trimester. The drug does not interact with pregnancy, but always get an expert's advice before taking it. Also, Artemether should be considered as the last reserve when other antimalarial drugs are not available.

2. Is Artemether safe in pregnancy?

Yes. Artemether is safe to be taken during pregnancy. However, it should be taken only when other antimalarial drugs are not available. Speak with specialists at Yashoda Hospitals regarding your condition before going for medication. Malarial infection during pregnancy is known to be linked with an increased risk for maternal and fetal complications. So, make sure that you get treated in time.

3. Can Artemether Lumefantrine cause abortion?

No. Artemether Lumefantrine does not cause abortion or miscarriage. Though capable of causing mild maternal and fetal complications, the combination of drugs does not lead to termination of pregnancy. The drug combination can be used to treat mild to severe malaria in pregnant ladies when other antimalarial drugs are not available. However, it is suggested only to take Artemether for malaria when other antimalarial drugs are not available while you are pregnant.

4. Are Artemether and Lumefantrine used for conditions other than malaria?

No. As of now, there is no indication of Artemether and Lumefantrine being used for any other condition than malaria. These drugs are antimalarial agents that inhibit the multiplication of plasmodium parasites in the red blood cells. By doing so, they help in preventing the progression of malarial infection.

5. What is another name for Artemether?

Artemether is available in the market by many trade names. Some of the common names by which the drug is available are Coartem, Riamet and Falcynate-LF. Artemether is almost always used in combination with another antimalarial drug called Lumefantrine. The trade names differ with different compositions of these two drugs.

6. What is the difference between Artemether and Artesunate?

The fundamental difference between Artemether and Artesunate is the medium that they dissolve in. Artemether dissolves in oil while Artesunate dissolves in water. In combination with Lumefantrine, Artemether is used to treat acute, uncomplicated and chloroquine-resistant malaria with better efficiency. Artesunate is used in combination with mefloquine to treat malaria.

7. How long does Artemether Lumefantrine stay in the body?

Artemether Lumefantrine, after therapeutic effects, gets eliminated through urine or faeces. Generally, any Artemisinin derivative in healthy individuals takes six days to get eliminated from the body. For patients with malarial infections caused by plasmodium parasites, it takes at least three to four days for the drug to offer its effect and get eliminated from the body.

8. How is Artemether injection given?

Artemether is an oil-based Artemisinin derivative usually given in the anterior thigh region. Since Artemether is an oil-soluble drug, it is administered intramuscularly and not intravenously. The initial dose of the drug is 3.2 mg/kg, which can be altered based on the severity of the infection. The efficacy of the drug is enhanced if taken with food, especially food rich in healthy fats.

9. Why is Artemether not given intravenously?

Artemether is not soluble in water. As the description of the drug suggests, Artemether only dissolves in fat or oil. So, there is no IV preparation of the drug, and it can be administered only intramuscularly. Usually, 80 mg of Artemether is dissolved in 1 ml of ampoule oily solution and based on the dose prescribed for you, it is diluted and administered intramuscularly.

10. Can children take Artemether injection?

Yes. Artemether is safe to be used in children. The drug is used to treat mild to severe malaria in both children and adults. Artemether and Lumefantrine drug combination is used to treat acute uncomplicated malaria and chloroquine-resistant malaria in adults and children as low as 2 months old or who weigh at least 5 kgs.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.

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