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- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,
Development of Delayed Hemolytic Anemia after Treatment with Oral Artemether–Lumefantrine in Two Patients with Severe Falciparum Malaria
Recently, reports of delayed hemolytic anemia after treatment with artemisinin and its derivatives have emerged. Here we report two cases of delayed hemolytic anemia in a patient with severe falciparum malaria after treatment with oral artemether–lumefantrine (AL). The first patient, a 20‐year‐old Japanese male student, was diagnosed with falciparum malaria and was administered AL. As having a high parasitemia rate (20.6%) was the only severe malaria criterion met in this case and his general condition was stable, we continued with AL treatment. Despite disappearance of malarial parasites after 4 days of AL administration, a persistent fever remained. On days 13 and 16, a diagnosis of hemolytic anemia was made (lactate dehydrogenase [LDH]: 1,466 U/L, hemoglobin [Hb]: 7.2 g/dL). A blood smear at that time revealed no parasites. He recovered naturally from delayed hemolysis. The second patient, a 27‐year‐old Japanese female student, was diagnosed with falciparum malaria (parasitemia: 4.5%) and treated initially with oral quinine hydrochloride and doxycycline. The following day, parasitemia increased to 7.9% and oral AL was initiated. She was discharged on day 4 after achieving parasite clearance and afebrility. However, on day 5, fever (body temperature > 38°C) recurred, and on day 11, a diagnosis of hemolytic anemia was made (LDH: 712 U/L, Hb: 8.8 g/dL). A follow‐up confirmed that her condition improved gradually. AL treatment of severe malaria can cause delayed hemolytic anemia. Patients should be followed up for up to 4 weeks to detect signs of hemolysis and provide appropriate symptomatic treatment.