Experts from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, have affirmed the efficacy of a new antimalarial formulation, Amatem Softgel, in the treatment of malaria in the country.
Speaking on the findings of a comparative study conducted on the bioavailability, efficacy and toxicity of Amatem Forte Softgel and a known brand of Artemether-Lumefantrine tablet formulation by a group of renowned researchers from LASUTH, Dr Omoniyi Yemitan , one of the researchers noted that “Amatem Softgel was found to be more bioavailable in the bloodstream than the tablet formulation of Artemether-Lumefantrine. The implication of this is that Amatem Softgel has a faster onset of action and more efficacious than tablets formulation”.
He further disclosed that the toxicity study of Amatem Softgel did not reveal any major side effects of the drug on patients.
Stakeholders present at the product launch, held at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja recently, expressed the need to accommodate such innovative, patient-friendly therapy in the essential drug formulary and to make it easily accessible in all the three tiers of the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria, adding that this would help to protect the populace from the malaria scourge.
At the official unveiling and seminar on preventing treatment failure with Artemether-Lumefantrine, participants commended Elbe Pharma Nigeria limited for bridging the gap in the treatment of malaria, noting that the soft gel is the first of its kind in the country.
The seminar, which was well-attended by medical experts and other policymakers in the health sector, was held at the Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja.
Dignitaries at the launch included: Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, represented by Pharm Yusuf Alhassan; Executive Secretary of Health, Federal Capital Authority, Abuja, Engr U. G. Jibrin, represented by Dr Matthew Ashikeni; Col. R.S Omoge; Dr (Mrs) Chimah Uzor DHQ, Abuja; representatives of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Dealers (NAPPMED); and the host, GM/COO, Elbe Pharma, Shiva Kumar.
Mr Kumar, in his address, noted that malaria is one of the diseases that have significantly reduced human resources, with an estimated 100 million cases and over 300,000 deaths per year in Nigeria.
“Over time, the disease has resisted treatment, especially the tablet form. Two years ago, Elbe Pharma Nigeria’s quest to find a superior, more acceptable antimalarial, led to the introduction of a research-based formulation – Amatem forte softgel,” he said.
Kumar also emphasised the import of having a product with a unique advantage to enhance the fight against malaria, saying: “The new brand in softgel dosage form helps in reducing the resistance and associated treatment failures and at the same time protects the efficacy of this all-important WHO recommended first-line antimalarial therapy, as there are no new alternatives coming up in the near future”.
He added that the novel drug therapy is quite different from that of the tablet form, which makes it very affordable, considering the therapeutic benefits and cure success rate derived from the formulation.