is an antimalarial for the treatment of multi-drug resistant strains offalciparum malaria. It is combined with Lumefantrine and sold by Novartis under the brand names Riamet and Co-Artem.
It is a methyl ether derivative of artemisinin, which is a peroxide lactone isolated from theChinese antimalarial plant, Artemisia annua. It is also known as dihydroartemisinin methyl ether, but its correct chemical nomenclature is (+)-(3-alpha,5a-beta,6-beta,8a-beta, 9-alpha,12-beta,12aR)-decahydro-10-methoxy-3,6,9-trimethyl-3,12-epoxy-12H-pyrano(4,3-j)-1,2-benzodioxepin.
Artemether is highly effective against the blood schizonts of both malarial parasites P. falciparum and P. vivax. It is applied in combination with lumefantrine in clinical treatments of malaria.
World Health Organization guidelines for the treatment of uncomplicatedfalciparum malaria recommend the use of this artemisinin-based combination therapy, and approved by Swissmedic in December 2008 and recently approved by the United StatesFood and Drug Administration.
A 70% overall yield from the two-step conversion of naturally or synthetically derived artemisinin to pure β-artemether is obtained. This corresponds to a usage factor of 1.35 kg of artemisinin needed to produce 1 kg of β-artemether, compared to the current industry average of 1.59 kg.