Artemisinin is one of the active molecules extracted from the sweet wormwood plant (Artemisiae annuae). Artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of Artemisinin. Both Artemisinin and Artesunate are used around the world as an effective treatment for malaria. There has been accumulating evidence over the past few decades that both Artemisinin and Artesunate may have anti-cancer activity and benefit patients with cancer as an adjunctive therapy.

How Artesunate works has been well established. Iron is a mineral that is required for cellular division. Cancer cells divide at a rapid pace and therefore accumulate iron. Artesunate reacts with the high level of iron in cancer cells to create a reactive molecule that causes cancer cell death. Artesunate has shown promising results in patients diagnosed with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hematologic cancers, colon cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer and other cancers.

Benefits of IV Artesunate in Cancer Care May Include:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved life expectancy
  • Reduce cancer growth 
  • Reduce cancer blood vessel formation

Side Effects, Contraindications, and Cautions:

Artesunate is a very safe therapy and has been used worldwide for many years. Common side effects may include an allergic reaction, dizziness, low white blood cell count, low red blood cell count and low platelet levels. The only known contraindication to Artesunate is having a previous severe allergic reaction to artesunate. With any intravenous infusion there is risk of pain and inflammation at the injection site as well as risk of infiltration (IV fluid leaking outside of the vein).