To assist the Peruvian Ministry of Health in modifying the malaria treatment policy for their north Pacific coastal region, we conducted an in vivo efficacy trial of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and SP plus artesunate (SP-AS) for the treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falcipamm infections. A total of 197 patients were randomized to therapy with either SP (25 mg/kg of the sulfadoxine component in a single dose on day O) or a combination of SP plus AS (4 mg/kg on days O, 1, and 2) and were followed for 28 days for symptoms and recurrence of parasitemia. No statistically significant differences between the two groups were observed on enrollment with respect to age, sex, history of malaria, or geometric mean parasite density. A total of 185 subjects completed the 28-day follow-up. Of the 91 subjects treated with SP alone, two had recurrences of parasitemia on day 7 and one on day 21. Of the 94 subjects treated with SP-AS, one had a recurrence of parasitemia on day 21. Fever and asexual parasite density decreased significantly more rapidly and the proportion of patients with gametocytemia on days 3-28 was significantly lower in subjects treated with combination therapy than in those who received SP alone. No severe adverse drug reactions were observed; however, self-limited rash and pruritis were significantly more common and an exacerbation of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain were observed significantly more frequently among patients who had received SP-AS. These results have contributed to a National Malaria Control Program decision to change to SP-AS combination therapy as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in northern coastal Peru in November 2001, making Peru the first country in the Americas to recommend this combination therapy.