Background: Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is recommended for preventing maternal and fetal effects of malaria in pregnancy. Increasing parasite resistance to SP has necessitated the search for an alternative medication.
Objective: To compare dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in preventing malaria during pregnancy.
Search strategy: Databases including CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and ICTRP were searched until August 2018.
Selection criteria: Randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials that compared DP with SP given to pregnant women to prevent adverse maternal or fetal effects of malaria were included.
Data collection and analysis: Quality of evidence was determined with GRADE criteria. Effectiveness measures were calculated using odds ratios at 95% confidence intervals.
Results: Three randomized controlled trials were included. Compared with IPT-SP, moderate certainty evidence indicated that women who received IPT-DP had significantly lower risks of clinical malaria during pregnancy. High certainty evidence showed intermittent screening and treatment with DP did not reduce placental malaria or maternal parasitemia at delivery. Effect of DP on low birth weight and adverse birth outcomes was minimal.
Conclusions: Moderate certainty evidence suggests that IPT-DP may reduce maternal and placental malaria compared with IPT-SP, and monthly DP is more effective than SP in reducing placental malaria.
PROSPERO ID: CRD42018084651