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(ar-te-meth-er loo-me-fan-treen) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antimalarials
Pregnancy Category: C


Treatment of acute, uncomplicated malaria in patients ≥5 kg.Not approved for severe/complicated P. falciparum malaria or prevention.


Consists of a fixed ratio of 1:6 parts of artemether and lumefantrine, respectively. Artemether is a prodrug that is rapidly converted to dihydroartemisinin (DHA), its active metabolite. Both components inhibit nucleic acid and protein synthesis.

Therapeutic effects

Antimalarial activity directed at the erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum.


Absorption: Well absorbed following oral administration, food increases absorption. Artemether is a prodrug that is rapidly converted to Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), an active antimalarial compound.
Distribution: Unknown.
Protein Binding: Lumefantrine—99.7%.
Metabolism and Excretion: Extensively metabolized by the liver. Artemether is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4/5. Lumefantrine is metabolized mainly by CYP3A. Lumefantrine also significantly inhibits CYP2D6.
Half-life: Artemether and DHA—2 hr; lumefantrine—3–6 days.

Time/action profile (antimalarial effect)

artemether POunknown2 hrhrs
lumefantrine POunknown6–8 hrdays
†blood levels


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to artemether or lumefantrine; Known QTc prolongation, conditions or medications associated with QTc prolongation, hypokalemia, or hypomagnesemia; Concurrent use of strong CYP3A4 inducers
Use Cautiously in: Severe hepatic/renal impairment; Concurrent use of medications that are metabolized by the cytochrome enzyme CYP2D6 and/or also have cardiac effects; Geriatric: Use cautiously in elderly patients; consider age-related decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and concomitant disease concurrent drug therapy; Lactation: Benefits of breastfeeding to mother and infant should be weighed against potential risk from infant exposure to artemether and lumefantrine through breast milk; Obstetric: Use during pregnancy only if potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus; Pediatric: Safety and efficacy not established in children <5 kg.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • dizziness (most frequent)
  • fatigue (most frequent)
  • headache (most frequent)
  • sleep disorder (most frequent)
  • weakness (most frequent)
  • insomnia
  • malaise

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • vertigo


  • cough


  • palpitations (most frequent)


  • abdominal pain (most frequent)
  • anorexia (most frequent)
  • nausea (most frequent)
  • vomiting (most frequent)
  • diarrhea
  • hepatomegaly
  • splenomegaly


  • pruritus


  • anemia


  • arthrlagia (most frequent)
  • myalgia (most frequent)


  • hypersensitivity reactions including urticaria and angioedema (life-threatening)
  • chills (most frequent)
  • fever (most frequent)


Drug-Drug interaction

Concurrent use with strong CYP3A4 inducers including rifampin, carbamazepine, or phenytoin, may ↓ levels and efficacy; concurrent use contraindicatedConcurrent use other antimalarials should be avoided due to lack of safety data.Concurrent use with any other drugs that prolong QTc interval including quinine, class IA antiarrhythmics (quinidine, procainamide, disopyramide ), class III antiarrhythmics (amiodarone, sotalol ), antipsychotics (pimozide, ziprasidone ); antidepressants ; or certain anti-infectives (macrolides, fluoroquinolones, imidazoles/triazoles ); should be avoided. CYP3A4 inhibitors may ↑ levels and the risk of QT interval prolongation. Effectiveness may be ↓ by mefloquine if used immediately before treatment (encourage food consumption).May ↓ effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives (additional method of birth control should be used).Concurrent use of antiretrovirals may ↑ risk of QTc prolongation, ↓ anti-retroviral efficacy, or ↓ antimalarial efficacy.Concurrent use of CYP2D6 substrates including flecainide, imipramine, amitriptyline and clomipramine may ↑ risk of adverse reactions and/or ↑ risk of QTc prolongation; avoid concurrent use.St. John's wort may ↓ concentrations; concurrent use contraindicatedGrapefruit juicemay ↑ blood levels and risk of QTc prolongation and should be avoided.


Oral (Adults ≥ 35 kg) 4 tablets per dose for a total of 6 doses; given as two doses 8 hours apart on the first day, then twice daily for the next two days.
Oral (Children 25 – <35 kg) 3 tablets per dose for a total of 6 doses; given as two doses 8 hours apart on the first day, then twice daily for the next two days.
Oral (Children 15 – <25 kg) 2 tablets per dose for a total of 6 doses; given as two doses 8 hours apart on the first day, then twice daily for the next two days.
Oral (Children 5 – <15 kg) 1 tablet per dose for a total of 6 doses; given as two doses 8 hours apart on the first day, then twice daily for the next two days.


Tablets: 20 mg artemether/120 mg lumefantrine

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess patient for improvement in signs and symptoms of malaria (fever, chills, muscle pains, headache) periodically during therapy.
  • Lab Test Considerations: May cause ↑ AST, ↑ ALT, ↓ hematocrit, ↑ or ↓ WBC, ↑ or ↓ platelet count, and eosinophilia.
    • May cause hypokalemia.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for infection (Indications)


  • Oral: Administer with food. Tablets may be crushed and mixed with 1–2 tsp water immediately before administration for patients with difficulty swallowing. Rinse container with more water and have patient swallow contents. Follow with food or drink (milk, formula, pudding, broth, porridge) if possible. Lack of adequate food increases risk for malaria relapse.
  • If vomiting occurs within 1–2 hr of administration, repeat dose. If repeat dose is vomited, use an alternative antimalarial.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take medication as directed. Advise patient to resume eating as soon as food can be tolerated; improves absorption of medication. Advise patient to notify health care professional of flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, muscle pains, headache) occur again after finishing medication. Instruct patient to read Medication Guide before starting therapy and with each Rx refill in case of changes.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional if they have taken other medications to treat malaria recently.
  • Advise patient to avoid drinking grapefruit juice during therapy; may cause increased concentrations and risk of arrhythmias.
  • May cause dizziness. Caution patient to avoid driving and other activities requiring alertness until response to medication is known.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional if symptoms of prolongation of the QT interval (prolonged heart palpitations, loss of consciousness) occur.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional immediately if signs of hypersensitivity (skin rash, hives, other skin reactions, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the lips, tongue, face, tightness or throat, hoarseness) occur.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and consult health care professional before taking any new medications, especially St. John's Wort.
  • Review methods of minimizing exposure to mosquitoes with patient.
  • Advise female patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding. Medication may cause loss of pregnancy and decreased effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives; advise patient to use a non-hormonal form of birth control during therapy.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Resolution of fever and clearance of parasites from blood.
References in periodicals archive ?
The antimalarial drug, Coartem remains highly effective in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, provided there is early diagnosis and urgent commencement of treatment.
For example, Novartis signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization (WHO) to state that it would recover only costs--and not profit--from the sale of its breakthrough antimalarial artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), Coartem (Spar and Delacey 2008).
4 million packets of counterfeit Coartem, a drug used to treat malaria.
What I know is coartem, and you should clear the bush around your house and not allow stagnant water remain around your house because if there is stagnant water, mosquitoes will breed there and will enter the house and bite.
11] In view of these trends, Efforts had to revert to DDT as an insecticide of choice for IRS and change the first-line treatment from sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to Coartem.
One of the items in the box is a photograph of the drug Coartem, commonly used to treat malaria.
In 2009, Novartis benefitted from the PRV system for its antimalarial drug Coartem (an oral combination of artemether and lumefantrine).
priority review voucher in 2009 following Food and Drug Administration approval of Coartem, a treatment for malaria.
Since then, anti-malarial drugs and medicines have been sent to the area such as boxes of coartem and quinine ampoules.
It is interesting to see that the winner of the recent HCPC Compliance Packaging Awards was the Novartis Coartem malaria treatment, for a disease that kills more than 863,000 Africans annually, many children, costing $12 billion in lost African GDP.
In Namokora, near the border with Sudan, the health centre is completely out of coartem, an ACT purchased by the government.