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1.  Pharmacokinetics of co-formulated mefloquine and artesunate in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infection in Burkina Faso 
Objectives
Mefloquine/artesunate has recently been developed as a fixed-dose combination, providing a promising rescue/alternative treatment for malaria during pregnancy. However, limited data are available on the effect of pregnancy on its pharmacokinetic properties. This study was conducted to assess the pharmacokinetic properties of mefloquine/carboxymefloquine and artesunate/dihydroartemisinin in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria.
Methods
Twenty-four women in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy and 24 paired non-pregnant women were enrolled. All patients were treated for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria with a standard fixed-dose combination of oral mefloquine and artesunate one daily over 3 days. Frequent blood samples were collected before treatment and at scheduled times post-dose for the drug measurements and pharmacokinetic analyses. The study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (identifier: NCT00701961).
Results
The total median exposure to mefloquine and dihydroartemisinin was not significantly different between the pregnant and non-pregnant women (P > 0.05). There was a trend of higher exposure to mefloquine in the pregnant women, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (656 700 versus 542 400 h × ng/mL; P = 0.059). However, the total exposure to carboxymefloquine was 49% lower during pregnancy (735 600 versus 1 499 000 h × ng/mL; P < 0.001) and the total drug exposure to artesunate was 42% higher during pregnancy (89.0 versus 62.9 h × ng/mL; P = 0.039) compared with non-pregnant controls.
Conclusions
The plasma levels of mefloquine and dihydroartemisinin appeared to be similar in both pregnant and non-pregnant women, but there were significant differences in carboxymefloquine and artesunate exposure. The data presented here do not warrant a dose adjustment in pregnant patients, but an extensive analysis of the data could provide a better understanding of these findings.
doi:10.1093/jac/dku154
PMCID: PMC4130382  PMID: 24891429
PK; antimalarials; pregnancy
2.  Disposition of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in HIV-infected Nigerian subjects on nevirapine-containing antiretroviral therapy 
Objectives
Artesunate plus amodiaquine is used for malaria treatment in regions with overlapping HIV endemicity. Co-administration of artesunate/amodiaquine with antiretroviral therapy (ART) may result in drug–drug interactions, but minimal data exist. This study evaluated the impact of nevirapine-based ART, containing a backbone of zidovudine and lamivudine, on the disposition of amodiaquine and its active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine (DEAQ).
Methods
This was an open-label, parallel-group pharmacokinetic comparison between HIV-infected, adult subjects receiving steady-state nevirapine-based ART (n = 10) and ART-naive subjects (control group, n = 11). All subjects received a loose formulation of artesunate/amodiaquine (200/600 mg) daily for 3 days, with serial pharmacokinetic sampling over 96 h following the final dose of artesunate/amodiaquine. Amodiaquine and DEAQ were quantified using a validated HPLC method with UV detection. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined using standard non-compartmental methods.
Results
Exposures to both amodiaquine and DEAQ were significantly lower in the nevirapine-based ART group compared with the control group (amodiaquine AUC0–24 145 versus 204 ng·h/mL, P = 0.02; DEAQ AUC0–96 14 571 versus 21 648 ng·h/mL, P < 0.01). The AUCDEAQ/AUCamodiaquine ratio was not different between groups (ART group 116 versus control group 102, P = 0.67).
Conclusions
Subjects on nevirapine-based ART had lower exposure to both amodiaquine and DEAQ (28.9% and 32.7%, respectively). Consequently, this may negatively impact the effectiveness of artesunate/amodiaquine in HIV-infected individuals on this ART combination.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkt513
PMCID: PMC3977609  PMID: 24446424
drug-drug interactions; pharmacokinetics; antimalarial
3.  Transient Increase of Interferon-Stimulated Genes and No Clinical Benefit by Chloroquine Treatment During Acute Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection of Macaques 
Abstract
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection leads to AIDS in experimentally infected Rhesus macaques similarly to HIV-infected humans. In contrast, SIV infection of natural hosts is characterized by a down-regulation of innate acute responses to the virus within a few weeks of infection and results in limited pathology. Chloroquine (CQ) has been used in the treatment or prevention of malaria and has recently been shown to cause a decrease of immune activation and CD4 cell loss in HIV-infected individuals treated with antiretroviral therapy. Here, we treated Rhesus macaques with CQ during the acute phase of SIVmac251 infection with the intent to decrease viral-induced immune activation and possibly limit disease progression. Contrary to what was expected, CQ treatment resulted in a temporary increased expression of interferon (IFN)-stimulating genes and it worsened the recovery of CD4+ T cells in the blood. Our findings confirm recent results observed in asymptomatic HIV-infected patients and suggest that CQ does not provide an obvious benefit in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.1089/aid.2013.0218
PMCID: PMC3976588  PMID: 24251542
4.  Efficacy and Day 7 Plasma Piperaquine Concentrations in African Children Treated for Uncomplicated Malaria with Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103200.
Background
One promising new Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) is dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQ). However, the pharmacokinetics of piperaquine and the relationship between drug levels and clinical efficacy are incompletely characterized, particularly in children.
Methods
We performed a single-arm open-label trial in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. A total of 379 participants aged 6 months or more with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were enrolled. Each participant received daily dose of DHA-PQ for three days and followed for 42 days. Parasitological efficacy was analyzed, considering rates of recrudescence and overall recurrence. PK was an exploratory endpoint and a priori, no sample size had been determined. Day 7 capillary and venous plasma concentrations of piperaquine were measured in children aged 2–10 years.
Results
Of the 379 participants, 365 (96.3%) completed 42 days of follow-up. The median daily dose of PQ was 18.5 mg/kg [6.5–24]. Treatment with DHA-PQ was well tolerated with fever and parasitemia resolution within 48 hours in nearly all children. Recurrent malaria within 42 days of follow-up occurred in 31.3% (10/34) of children less than 2 years old, 16.0% (16/106) of those aged 2–5 years, 9.4% (15/160) of those aged 5–10 years, and none (0/68) of those over 10 years old. After genotyping, 3 of 41 recurrent episodes were recrudescence. An exploratory analysis shows that children with successful treatment outcomes had significantly higher median plasma concentrations of PQ compared to those with recurrent malaria within 42 days after therapy, considering either capillary samples (68 ng/ml [50–85] compared to 48 ng/ml [36–55], p<0.001) or venous samples (42 ng/ml [29–59] compared to 25 ng/ml [19–44], p<0.001).
Conclusion
DHA-PQ was effective for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria treatment and offers an alternative to other ACTs. Recurrent malaria was mainly due to new infections after treatment and was correlated with low day 7 PQ concentration in the youngest patients.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN59761234
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103200
PMCID: PMC4136730  PMID: 25133389
5.  Preliminary pharmaceutical development of antimalarial–antibiotic cotherapy as a pre-referral paediatric treatment of fever in malaria endemic areas 
Graphical abstract
Artemether (AM) plus azithromycin (AZ) rectal co-formulations were studied to provide pre-referral treatment for children with severe febrile illnesses in malaria-endemic areas. The target profile required that such product should be cheap, easy to administer by non-medically qualified persons, rapidly effective against both malaria and bacterial infections. Analytical and pharmacotechnical development, followed by in vitro and in vivo evaluation, were conducted for various AMAZ coformulations. Of the formulations tested, stability was highest for dry solid forms and bioavailability for hard gelatin capsules; AM release from AMAZ rectodispersible tablet was suboptimal due to a modification of its micro-crystalline structure.
doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2014.04.023
PMCID: PMC4045394  PMID: 24726300
Artemether; Azithromycin; Malaria; Acute respiratory infections; Pediatric; Rectal route
6.  Benefits of a Pharmacology Antimalarial Reference Standard and Proficiency Testing Program Provided by the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) 
Comprehensive assessment of antimalarial drug resistance should include measurements of antimalarial blood or plasma concentrations in clinical trials and in individual assessments of treatment failure so that true resistance can be differentiated from inadequate drug exposure. Pharmacometric modeling is necessary to assess pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships in different populations to optimize dosing. To accomplish both effectively and to allow comparison of data from different laboratories, it is essential that drug concentration measurement is accurate. Proficiency testing (PT) of laboratory procedures is necessary for verification of assay results. Within the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), the goal of the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program is to facilitate and sustain high-quality antimalarial assays. The QA/QC program consists of an international PT program for pharmacology laboratories and a reference material (RM) program for the provision of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards for laboratory use. The RM program currently distributes accurately weighed quantities of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards to 44 pharmacology, in vitro, and drug quality testing laboratories. The pharmacology PT program has sent samples to eight laboratories in four rounds of testing. WWARN technical experts have provided advice for correcting identified problems to improve performance of subsequent analysis and ultimately improved the quality of data. Many participants have demonstrated substantial improvements over subsequent rounds of PT. The WWARN QA/QC program has improved the quality and value of antimalarial drug measurement in laboratories globally. It is a model that has potential to be applied to strengthening laboratories more widely and improving the therapeutics of other infectious diseases.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02362-14
PMCID: PMC4068537  PMID: 24777099
7.  Pharmacokinetic Predictors for Recurrent Malaria After Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine Treatment of Uncomplicated Malaria in Ugandan Infants 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(11):1646-1654.
Background. Although dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is used primarily in children, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) data on DP use in young children are lacking.
Methods. We conducted a prospective PK/PD study of piperaquine in 107 young children in Uganda. Samples were collected up to 28 days after 218 episodes of malaria treatment, which occurred during follow-up periods of up to 5 months. Malaria follow-up was conducted actively to day 28 and passively to day 63.
Results. The median capillary piperaquine concentration on day 7 after treatment was 41.9 ng/mL. Low piperaquine concentrations were associated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria for up to 42 days, primarily in those receiving trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) prophylaxis. In children not receiving TMP-SMX, low piperaquine concentrations were only modestly associated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria. However, for children receiving TMP-SMX, associations were strong and evident for all sampling days, with PQ concentrations of ≤27.3 ng/mL on day 7 associated with a greatly increased risk of recurrent malaria. Notably, of 132 cases of recurrent malaria, 119 had detectable piperaquine concentrations at the time of presentation with recurrent malaria.
Conclusions. These piperaquine PK/PD data represent the first in children <2 years of age. Piperaquine exposure on day 7 correlated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria after DP treatment in children receiving TMP-SMX prophylaxis. Interestingly, despite strong associations, infants remained at risk for malaria, even if they had residual levels of piperaquine.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit078
PMCID: PMC4318925  PMID: 23447696
malaria; pharmacokinetics; piperaquine; artemisinin combination therapy; antimalarial
8.  Population Pharmacokinetic Assessment of the Effect of Food on Piperaquine Bioavailability in Patients with Uncomplicated Malaria 
Previously published literature reports various impacts of food on the oral bioavailability of piperaquine. The aim of this study was to use a population modeling approach to investigate the impact of concomitant intake of a small amount of food on piperaquine pharmacokinetics. This was an open, randomized comparison of piperaquine pharmacokinetics when administered as a fixed oral formulation once daily for 3 days with (n = 15) and without (n = 15) concomitant food to patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to characterize the pharmacokinetics of piperaquine and the influence of concomitant food intake. A modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach was applied to evaluate the relationship between statistical power and various degrees of covariate effect sizes of the given study design. Piperaquine population pharmacokinetics were described well in fasting and fed patients by a three-compartment distribution model with flexible absorption. The final model showed a 25% increase in relative bioavailability per dose occasion during recovery from malaria but demonstrated no clinical impact of concomitant intake of a low-fat meal. Body weight and age were both significant covariates in the final model. The novel power approach concluded that the study was adequately powered to detect a food effect of at least 35%. This modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach may be a useful tool for evaluating the power to detect true covariate effects in mixed-effects modeling and a given study design. A small amount of food does not affect piperaquine absorption significantly in acute malaria.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02318-13
PMCID: PMC4023753  PMID: 24449770
9.  Pharmacokinetics of Orally Administered Oseltamivir in Healthy Obese and Nonobese Thai Subjects 
Oseltamivir is the most widely used anti-influenza drug. In the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in which the influenza viruses were oseltamivir sensitive, obesity was identified as a risk factor for severe disease and unfavorable outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and its active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate, in obese and nonobese healthy subjects. A single-dose, randomized, two-sequence crossover study was conducted in 12 obese and 12 nonobese healthy Thai volunteers. Each volunteer was given 75 mg and 150 mg oseltamivir orally with an intervening washout period of more than 3 days. The pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were evaluated using a noncompartmental approach. The median (range) body mass indexes (BMIs) for obese subjects were 33.8 kg/m2 (30.8 to 43.2) and 22.2 (18.8 to 24.2) for nonobese subjects. The pharmacokinetic parameters of oseltamivir carboxylate, the active metabolite of oseltamivir, were not significantly different between obese and nonobese subjects for both 75-mg and 150-mg doses. Both doses were well tolerated. Despite the lower dose per kilogram body weight in obese subjects, there was no significant difference in the exposure of oseltamivir carboxylate between the obese and nonobese groups. Standard dosing is appropriate for obese subjects. (The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT 01049763.)
doi:10.1128/AAC.01786-13
PMCID: PMC3957867  PMID: 24366750
10.  Combination therapy with amantadine, oseltamivir and ribavirin for influenza A infection: safety and pharmacokinetics 
Antiviral therapy  2012;18(3):377-386.
Background
Antiviral resistance among influenza A viruses is associated with high morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts. However, treatment strategies for drug-resistant influenza A are not established. A triple-combination antiviral drug (TCAD) regimen consisting of amantadine (AMT), oseltamivir (OSL) and ribavirin (RBV) demonstrated good efficacy in an animal model.
Methods
We first analysed the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of TCAD therapy in healthy volunteers. We then performed a pilot study of TCAD therapy in patients undergoing chemotherapy or haematopoietic cell transplantation. AMT (75 mg), OSL (50 mg) and RBV (200 mg) were administered three times a day for 10 days. The safety and PKs of TCAD therapy were monitored.
Results
The PKs of TCAD therapy in healthy volunteers was shown to be similar to the PKs of each drug individually from a single dose. In the pilot study, six immunocompromised patients received TCAD therapy and one patient received OSL monotherapy. All but one patient completed 10 days of TCAD therapy without side effects; one patient receiving TCAD was withdrawn from the study because of respiratory failure and ultimately recovered. Viral load was decreased after TCAD therapy, despite the presence of either AMT- or OSL-resistant virus in two cases. One patient with 2009 influenza A/H1N1 receiving OSL monotherapy developed confirmed OSL resistance during treatment.
Conclusions
TCAD therapy had similar PKs to each individual antiviral during monotherapy following a single dose and can be administered safely in immunocompromised patients.
doi:10.3851/IMP2475
PMCID: PMC3912210  PMID: 23264438
11.  Liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric method for simultaneous determination of small organic acids potentially contributing to acidosis in severe malaria☆ 
Highlights
•Acidosis is an important contributor to mortality in patients with severe malaria.•A novel LC–MS method for simultaneous determination of 8 potential small organic acids contributing to acidosis.•Anion exchange SPE coupled with HILIC and ion trap LC–MS was utilized for separation and detection.•This new method demonstrated clinical applicability in plasma and urine of severe malaria patient.
Acidosis is an important cause of mortality in severe falciparum malaria. Lactic acid is a major contributor to metabolic acidosis, but accounts for only one-quarter of the strong anion gap. Other unidentified organic acids have an independent strong prognostic significance for a fatal outcome. In this study, a simultaneous bio-analytical method for qualitative and quantitative assessment in plasma and urine of eight small organic acids potentially contributing to acidosis in severe malaria was developed and validated. High-throughput strong anion exchange solid-phase extraction in a 96-well plate format was used for sample preparation. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) coupled to negative mass spectroscopy was utilized for separation and detection. Eight possible small organic acids; l-lactic acid (LA), α-hydroxybutyric acid (aHBA), β-hydroxybutyric acid (bHBA), p-hydroxyphenyllactic acid (pHPLA), malonic acid (MA), methylmalonic acid (MMA), ethylmalonic acid (EMA) and α-ketoglutaric acid (aKGA) were analyzed simultaneously using a ZIC-HILIC column with an isocratic elution containing acetonitrile and ammonium acetate buffer. This method was validated according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines with additional validation procedures for endogenous substances. Accuracy for all eight acids ranged from 93.1% to 104.0%, and the within-day and between-day precisions (i.e. relative standard deviations) were lower than 5.5% at all tested concentrations. The calibration ranges were: 2.5–2500 μg/mL for LA, 0.125–125 μg/mL for aHBA, 7.5–375 μg/mL for bHBA, 0.1–100 μg/mL for pHPLA, 1–1000 μg/mL for MA, 0.25–250 μg/mL for MMA, 0.25–100 μg/mL for EMA, and 30–1500 μg/mL for aKGA. Clinical applicability was demonstrated by analyzing plasma and urine samples from five patients with severe falciparum malaria; five acids had increased concentrations in plasma (range LA = 177–1169 μg/mL, aHBA = 4.70–38.4 μg/mL, bHBA = 7.70–38.0 μg/mL, pHPLA = 0.900–4.30 μg/mL and aKGA = 30.2–32.0) and seven in urine samples (range LA = 11.2–513 μg/mL, aHBA = 1.50–69.5 μg/mL, bHBA = 8.10–111 μg/mL, pHPLA = 4.30–27.7 μg/mL, MMA = 0.300–13.3 μg/mL, EMA = 0.300–48.1 μg/mL and aKGA = 30.4–107 μg/mL). In conclusion, a novel bioanalytical method was developed and validated which allows for simultaneous quantification of eight small organic acids in plasma and urine. This new method may be a useful tool for the assessment of acidosis in patients with severe malaria, and other conditions complicated by acidosis.
doi:10.1016/j.jchromb.2013.10.005
PMCID: PMC3827507  PMID: 24200840
Acidosis; Severe malaria; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Bio-analysis; Unidentified acids
12.  Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Pursat province, western Cambodia: a parasite clearance rate study 
The Lancet infectious diseases  2012;12(11):851-858.
Summary
Background
Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has been reported in Pailin, western Cambodia, detected as a slow parasite clearance rate in vivo. Emergence of this phenotype in western Thailand and possibly elsewhere threatens to compromise the effectiveness of all artemisinin-based combination therapies. Parasite genetics is associated with parasite clearance rate but does not account for all variation. We investigated contributions of both parasite genetics and host factors to the artemisinin-resistance phenotype in Pursat, western Cambodia.
Methods
Between June 19 and Nov 28, 2009, and June 26 and Dec 6, 2010, we enrolled patients aged 10 years or older with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, a density of asexual parasites of at least 10 000 per μL of whole blood, no symptoms or signs of severe malaria, no other cause of febrile illness, and no chronic illness. We gave participants 4 mg/kg artesunate at 0, 24, and 48 h, 15 mg/kg mefloquine at 72 h, and 10 mg/kg mefloquine at 96 h. We assessed parasite density on thick blood films every 6 h until undetectable. The parasite clearance half-life was calculated from the parasite clearance curve. We genotyped parasites with 18 microsatellite markers and patients for haemoglobin E, α-thalassaemia, and a mutation of G6PD, which encodes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. To account for the possible effects of acquired immunity on half-life, we used three surrogates for increased likelihood of exposure to P falciparum: age, sex, and place of residence. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00341003.
Findings
We assessed 3504 individuals from all six districts of Pursat province seeking treatment for malaria symptoms. We enrolled 168 patients with falciparum malaria who met inclusion criteria. The geometric mean half-life was 5.85 h (95% CI 5.54–6.18) in Pursat, similar to that reported in Pailin (p=0.109). We identified two genetically different parasite clone groups: parasite group 1 (PG1) and parasite group 2 (PG2). Non-significant increases in parasite clearance half-life were seen in patients with haemoglobin E (0.55 h; p=0.078), those of male sex (0.96 h; p=0.064), and in 2010 (0.68 h; p=0.068); PG1 was associated with a significant increase (0.79 h; p=0.033). The mean parasite heritability of half-life was 0.40 (SD 0.17).
Interpretation
Heritable artemisinin resistance is established in a second Cambodian province. To accurately identify parasites that are intrinsically susceptible or resistant to artemisinins, future studies should explore the effect of erythrocyte polymorphisms and specific immune responses on half-life variation.
Funding
Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70181-0
PMCID: PMC3786328  PMID: 22940027
13.  Comparison of Oseltamivir and Oseltamivir Carboxylate Concentrations in Venous Plasma, Venous Blood, and Capillary Blood in Healthy Volunteers 
Oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate concentrations were measured in venous plasma, venous blood, and capillary blood taken simultaneously from 24 healthy volunteers. Median (range) venous-blood-to-plasma ratios were 1.42 (0.920 to 1.97) for oseltamivir and 0.673 (0.564 to 0.814) for oseltamivir carboxylate. Capillary blood/venous plasma ratios were 1.32 (0.737 to 3.16) for oseltamivir and 0.685 (0.502 to 1.34) for oseltamivir carboxylate. Oseltamivir concentrations in venous and capillary blood were similar. Oseltamivir carboxylate showed a time-dependent distribution between venous and capillary blood.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02408-12
PMCID: PMC3716162  PMID: 23507284
14.  Reduced Susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to Artesunate in Southern Myanmar 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57689.
Background
Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins, the first line treatment for malaria worldwide, has been reported in western Cambodia. Resistance is characterized by significantly delayed clearance of parasites following artemisinin treatment. Artemisinin resistance has not previously been reported in Myanmar, which has the highest falciparum malaria burden among Southeast Asian countries.
Methods
A non-randomized, single-arm, open-label clinical trial of artesunate monotherapy (4 mg/kg daily for seven days) was conducted in adults with acute blood-smear positive P. falciparum malaria in Kawthaung, southern Myanmar. Parasite density was measured every 12 hours until two consecutive negative smears were obtained. Participants were followed weekly at the study clinic for three additional weeks. Co-primary endpoints included parasite clearance time (the time required for complete clearance of initial parasitemia), parasite clearance half-life (the time required for parasitemia to decrease by 50% based on the linear portion of the parasite clearance slope), and detectable parasitemia 72 hours after commencement of artesunate treatment. Drug pharmacokinetics were measured to rule out delayed clearance due to suboptimal drug levels.
Results
The median (range) parasite clearance half-life and time were 4.8 (2.1–9.7) and 60 (24–96) hours, respectively. The frequency distributions of parasite clearance half-life and time were bimodal, with very slow parasite clearance characteristic of the slowest-clearing Cambodian parasites (half-life longer than 6.2 hours) in approximately 1/3 of infections. Fourteen of 52 participants (26.9%) had a measurable parasitemia 72 hours after initiating artesunate treatment. Parasite clearance was not associated with drug pharmacokinetics.
Conclusions
A subset of P. falciparum infections in southern Myanmar displayed markedly delayed clearance following artemisinin treatment, suggesting either emergence of artemisinin resistance in southern Myanmar or spread to this location from its site of origin in western Cambodia. Resistance containment efforts are underway in Myanmar.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000896077
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057689
PMCID: PMC3592920  PMID: 23520478
15.  Artesunate/dihydroartemisinin pharmacokinetics in acute falciparum malaria in pregnancy: absorption, bioavailability, disposition and disease effects 
AIM
To determine if reported lower plasma concentrations of artemisinin derivatives for malaria in pregnancy result from reduced oral bioavailability, expanded volume of distribution or increased clearance.
METHODS
In a sequentially assigned crossover treatment study, pregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria received i.v. artesunate (i.v. ARS) (4 mg kg−1) on the first day and oral ARS (4 mg kg−1) on the second, or, oral on the first and i.v. on the second, in both groups followed by oral ARS (4 mg kg−1 day−1) for 5 days. Plasma concentrations of ARS and dihyroartemisinin (DHA) were measured by liquid chromatography-mass-spectrometry on days 0, 1, 2 and 6. Controls were the same women restudied when healthy (3 months post partum).
RESULTS
I.v. ARS administration resulted in similar ARS and DHA pharmacokinetics in pregnant women with malaria (n = 20) and in controls (n = 14). Oral administration resulted in higher total drug exposure in pregnancy [AUC (95% CI) in (ng ml−1 h)/(mg kg−1)] of 55.1 (30.1, 100.0) vs. 26.5 (12.2, 54.3) for ARS, P = 0.002 and 673 (386, 1130) vs. 523 (351, 724) for DHA, P = 0.007. The corresponding median absolute oral bioavailability (F%) was 21.7 (12.6, 75.1) vs. 9.9 (6.0, 36.81) for ARS (P = 0.046) and 77.0 (42.2, 129) vs. 72.7 (42.0, 87.7) for DHA, P = 0.033. Total DHA exposure was lower at day 6 in pregnant women with malaria (P < 0.001) compared with day 0 or 1, but not in the controls (P = 0.084).
CONCLUSIONS
This study demonstrates the effects of malaria on oral ARS drug disposition are greater than those of pregnancy. This probably results from a disease related reduction in first pass metabolism. The data are reassuring regarding current dosing recommendations.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04103.x
PMCID: PMC3370352  PMID: 21950338
artesunate; dihyroartemisinin; malaria; pharmacokinetics; post partum; pregnancy
16.  Population Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Properties of Intramuscular Quinine in Tanzanian Children with Severe Falciparum Malaria 
Although artesunate is clearly superior, parenteral quinine is still used widely for the treatment of severe malaria. A loading-dose regimen has been recommended for 30 years but is still often not used. A population pharmacokinetic study was conducted with 75 Tanzanian children aged 4 months to 8 years with severe malaria who received quinine intramuscularly; 69 patients received a loading dose of 20 mg quinine dihydrochloride (salt)/kg of body weight. Twenty-one patients had plasma quinine concentrations detectable at baseline. A zero-order absorption model with one-compartment disposition pharmacokinetics described the data adequately. Body weight was the only significant covariate and was implemented as an allometric function on clearance and volume parameters. Population pharmacokinetic parameter estimates (and percent relative standard errors [%RSE]) of elimination clearance, central volume of distribution, and duration of zero-order absorption were 0.977 liters/h (6.50%), 16.7 liters (6.39%), and 1.42 h (21.5%), respectively, for a typical patient weighing 11 kg. Quinine exposure was reduced at lower body weights after standard weight-based dosing; there was 18% less exposure over 24 h in patients weighing 5 kg than in those weighing 25 kg. Maximum plasma concentrations after the loading dose were unaffected by body weight. There was no evidence of dose-related drug toxicity with the loading dosing regimen. Intramuscular quinine is rapidly and reliably absorbed in children with severe falciparum malaria. Based on these pharmacokinetic data, a loading dose of 20 mg salt/kg is recommended, provided that no loading dose was administered within 24 h and no routine dose was administered within 12 h of admission. (This study has been registered with Current Controlled Trials under registration number ISRCTN 50258054.)
doi:10.1128/AAC.01349-12
PMCID: PMC3553700  PMID: 23183442
17.  Pharmaceutical development and optimization of azithromycin suppository for paediatric use 
International Journal of Pharmaceutics  2013;441(1-2):218-226.
Graphical abstract
Pharmaceutical development and manufacturing process optimization work was undertaken in order to propose a potential paediatric rectal formulation of azithromycin as an alternative to existing oral or injectable formulations. The target product profile was to be easy-to-use, cheap and stable in tropical conditions, with bioavailability comparable to oral forms, rapidly achieving and maintaining bactericidal concentrations. PEG solid solution suppositories were characterized in vitro using visual, HPLC, DSC, FTIR and XRD analyses. In vitro drug release and in vivo bioavailability were assessed; a study in rabbits compared the bioavailability of the optimized solid solution suppository to rectal solution and intra-venous product (as reference) and to the previous, non-optimized formulation (suspended azithromycin suppository). The bioavailability of azithromycin administered as solid solution suppositories relative to intra-venous was 43%, which compared well to the target of 38% (oral product in humans). The results of 3-month preliminary stability and feasibility studies were consistent with industrial production scale-up. This product has potential both as a classical antibiotic and as a product for use in severely ill children in rural areas. Industrial partners for further development are being sought.
doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.11.040
PMCID: PMC3605574  PMID: 23220079
Azithromycin; Antibiotic; Rectal; Suppository; Pharmaceutical development; Paediatric solid dispersion
18.  A population pharmacokinetic model of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sudan 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:398.
Background
Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of developing a malaria infection and a higher risk of developing severe malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarials are also altered during pregnancy, often resulting in a decreased drug exposure. Piperaquine is a promising anti-malarial partner drug used in a fixed-dose combination with dihydroartemisinin. The aim of this study was to investigate the population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant Sudanese women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
Method
Symptomatic patients received a standard dose regimen of the fixed dose oral piperaquine-dihydroartemisinin combination treatment. Densely sampled plasma aliquots were collected and analysed using a previously described LC-MS/MS method. Data from 12 pregnant and 12 non-pregnant women were analysed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. A Monte Carlo Mapped Power (MCMP) analysis was conducted based on a previously published study to evaluate the power of detecting covariates in this relatively small study.
Results
A three-compartment disposition model with a transit-absorption model described the observed data well. Body weight was added as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. A statistically significant decrease in estimated terminal piperaquine half-life in pregnant compared with non-pregnant women was found, but there were no differences in post-hoc estimates of total piperaquine exposure. The MCMP analysis indicated a minimum of 13 pregnant and 13 non-pregnant women were required to identify pregnancy as a covariate on relevant pharmacokinetic parameters (80% power and p=0.05). Pregnancy was, therefore, evaluated as a categorical and continuous covariate (i.e. estimate gestational age) in a full covariate approach. Using this approach pregnancy was not associated with any major change in piperaquine elimination clearance. However, a trend of increasing elimination clearance with increasing gestational age could be seen.
Conclusions
The population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine were well described by a three-compartment disposition model in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. The modelling approach showed no major difference in piperaquine exposure between the two groups and data presented here do not warrant a dose adjustment in pregnancy in this vulnerable population.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-398
PMCID: PMC3551687  PMID: 23190801
Malaria; Piperaquine; Pregnancy; Population pharmacokinetics; Nonlinear mixed-effects modelling
19.  Effect of High-Dose or Split-Dose Artesunate on Parasite Clearance in Artemisinin-Resistant Falciparum Malaria 
New treatment strategies are needed for artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria. This randomized trial shows that neither increasing nor splitting the standard once-daily artesunate dose reverses the markedly reduced parasite clearance rate in patients with artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria.
Background. The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins on the Cambodian and Myanmar-Thai borders poses severe threats to malaria control. We investigated whether increasing or splitting the dose of the short-half-life drug artesunate improves parasite clearance in falciparum malaria in the 2 regions.
Methods. In Pailin, western Cambodia (from 2008 to 2010), and Wang Pha, northwestern Thailand (2009–2010), patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were randomized to oral artesunate 6 mg/kg/d as a once-daily or twice-daily dose for 7 days, or artesunate 8 mg/kg/d as a once-daily or twice-daily dose for 3 days, followed by mefloquine. Parasite clearance and recrudescence for up to 63 days of follow-up were assessed.
Results. A total of 159 patients were enrolled. Overall median (interquartile range [IQR]) parasitemia half-life (half-life) was 6.03 (4.89–7.28) hours in Pailin versus 3.42 (2.20–4.85) hours in Wang Pha (P = .0001). Splitting or increasing the artesunate dose did not shorten half-life in either site. Pharmacokinetic profiles of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were similar between sites and did not correlate with half-life. Recrudescent infections occurred in 4 of 79 patients in Pailin and 5 of 80 in Wang Pha and was not different between treatment arms (P = .68).
Conclusions. Increasing the artesunate treatment dose up to 8 mg/kg/d or splitting the dose does not improve parasite clearance in either artemisinin resistant or more sensitive infections with P. falciparum.
Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN15351875.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis958
PMCID: PMC3563392  PMID: 23175556
artemisinins; drug resistance; Plasmodium falciparum; neutropenia; reticulocytopenia
20.  Artemisinin Resistance in Plasmodium falciparum Malaria 
The New England journal of medicine  2009;361(5):455-467.
BACKGROUND
Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the recommended first-line treatments of falciparum malaria in all countries with endemic disease. There are recent concerns that the efficacy of such therapies has declined on the Thai–Cambodian border, historically a site of emerging antimalarial-drug resistance.
METHODS
In two open-label, randomized trials, we compared the efficacies of two treatments for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Pailin, western Cambodia, and Wang Pha, northwestern Thailand: oral artesunate given at a dose of 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, for 7 days, and artesunate given at a dose of 4 mg per kilogram per day, for 3 days, followed by mefloquine at two doses totaling 25 mg per kilogram. We assessed in vitro and in vivo Plasmodium falciparum susceptibility, artesunate pharmacokinetics, and molecular markers of resistance.
RESULTS
We studied 40 patients in each of the two locations. The overall median parasite clearance times were 84 hours (interquartile range, 60 to 96) in Pailin and 48 hours (interquartile range, 36 to 66) in Wang Pha (P<0.001). Recrudescence confirmed by means of polymerase-chain-reaction assay occurred in 6 of 20 patients (30%) receiving artesunate monotherapy and 1 of 20 (5%) receiving artesunate–mefloquine therapy in Pailin, as compared with 2 of 20 (10%) and 1 of 20 (5%), respectively, in Wang Pha (P = 0.31). These markedly different parasitologic responses were not explained by differences in age, artesunate or dihydroartemisinin pharmacokinetics, results of isotopic in vitro sensitivity tests, or putative molecular correlates of P. falciparum drug resistance (mutations or amplifications of the gene encoding a multidrug resistance protein [PfMDR1] or mutations in the gene encoding sarco–endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase6 [PfSERCA]). Adverse events were mild and did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups.
CONCLUSIONS
P. falciparum has reduced in vivo susceptibility to artesunate in western Cambodia as compared with northwestern Thailand. Resistance is characterized by slow parasite clearance in vivo without corresponding reductions on conventional in vitro susceptibility testing. Containment measures are urgently needed. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00493363, and Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN64835265.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0808859
PMCID: PMC3495232  PMID: 19641202
21.  Population Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Modeling of Amodiaquine and Desethylamodiaquine in Women with Plasmodium vivax Malaria during and after Pregnancy 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):5764-5773.
Amodiaquine is effective for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria, but there is little information on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine in pregnant women with malaria. This study evaluated the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and its biologically active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in pregnant women with P. vivax infection and again after delivery. Twenty-seven pregnant women infected with P. vivax malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border were treated with amodiaquine monotherapy (10 mg/kg/day) once daily for 3 days. Nineteen women, with and without P. vivax infections, returned to receive the same amodiaquine dose postpartum. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine plasma concentrations were described accurately by lagged first-order absorption with a two-compartment disposition model followed by a three-compartment disposition of desethylamodiaquine under the assumption of complete in vivo conversion. Body weight was implemented as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. Amodiaquine clearance decreased linearly with age, and absorption lag time was reduced in pregnant patients. Recurrent malaria infections in pregnant women were modeled with a time-to-event model consisting of a constant-hazard function with an inhibitory effect of desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine treatment reduced the risk of recurrent infections from 22.2% to 7.4% at day 35. In conclusion, pregnancy did not have a clinically relevant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine or desethylamodiaquine. No dose adjustments are required in pregnancy.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01242-12
PMCID: PMC3486620  PMID: 22926572
22.  Population pharmacokinetics of Artemether and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:293.
Background
Malaria in pregnancy increases the risk of maternal anemia, abortion and low birth weight. Approximately 85.3 million pregnancies occur annually in areas with Plasmodium falciparum transmission. Pregnancy has been reported to alter the pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarial drugs. Reduced drug exposure increases the risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its active metabolite dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda.
Methods
Twenty-one women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy received the fixed oral combination of 80 mg artemether and 480 mg lumefantrine twice daily for three days. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin plasma concentrations after the last dose administration were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass-spectroscopy. A simultaneous drug-metabolite population pharmacokinetic model for artemether and dihydroartemisinin was developed taking into account different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. A separate modeling approach and a non-compartmental analysis (NCA) were also performed to enable a comparison with literature values and different modeling strategies.
Results
The treatment was well tolerated and there were no cases of recurrent malaria. A flexible absorption model with sequential zero-order and transit-compartment absorption followed by a simultaneous one-compartment disposition model for both artemether and dihydroartemisinin provided the best fit to the data. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin exposure was lower than that reported in non-pregnant populations. An approximately four-fold higher apparent volume of distribution for dihydroartemisinin was obtained by non-compartmental analysis and separate modeling compared to that from simultaneous modeling of the drug and metabolite. This highlights a potential pitfall when analyzing drug/metabolite data with traditional approaches.
Conclusion
The population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and dihydroartemisinin, in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda, were described satisfactorily by a simultaneous drug-metabolite model without covariates. Concentrations of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin were relatively low in pregnancy compared to literature data. However, this should be interpreted with caution considered the limited literature available. Further studies in larger series are urgently needed for this vulnerable group.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-293
PMCID: PMC3502166  PMID: 22913677
Non-linear mixed effects modeling; Pharmacokinetics; Artemether; Dihydroartemisinin; Pregnancy; Malaria
23.  Optimal designs for population pharmacokinetic studies of the partner drugs co-administered with artemisinin derivatives in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:143.
Background
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is currently recommended as first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, but of concern, it has been observed that the effectiveness of the main artemisinin derivative, artesunate, has been diminished due to parasite resistance. This reduction in effect highlights the importance of the partner drugs in ACT and provides motivation to gain more knowledge of their pharmacokinetic (PK) properties via population PK studies. Optimal design methodology has been developed for population PK studies, which analytically determines a sampling schedule that is clinically feasible and yields precise estimation of model parameters. In this work, optimal design methodology was used to determine sampling designs for typical future population PK studies of the partner drugs (mefloquine, lumefantrine, piperaquine and amodiaquine) co-administered with artemisinin derivatives.
Methods
The optimal designs were determined using freely available software and were based on structural PK models from the literature and the key specifications of 100 patients with five samples per patient, with one sample taken on the seventh day of treatment. The derived optimal designs were then evaluated via a simulation-estimation procedure.
Results
For all partner drugs, designs consisting of two sampling schedules (50 patients per schedule) with five samples per patient resulted in acceptable precision of the model parameter estimates.
Conclusions
The sampling schedules proposed in this paper should be considered in future population pharmacokinetic studies where intensive sampling over many days or weeks of follow-up is not possible due to either ethical, logistic or economical reasons.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-143
PMCID: PMC3394219  PMID: 22551019
Artemisinin-based combination therapy; Partner drugs; Optimal design
24.  Pharmacokinetics of Piperaquine in Pregnant Women in Sudan with Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria 
The pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine were investigated in 12 pregnant and 12 well-matched, non-pregnant women receiving a three-day oral fixed dose combination regimen of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine for treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum at New Halfa Hospital in eastern Sudan. Frequent venous plasma samples were drawn from the patients over a 63-day period and a complete concentration–time profile was collected for 7 pregnant and 11 non-pregnant patients. Piperaquine was quantified using a liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry method. Pregnant women had a significantly higher total drug exposure (median area under the curve [range] = 1,770 [1,200–5,600] hr × ng/mL versus 858 [325–2,370] hr × ng/mL; P = 0.018) and longer time to maximal concentration (4.00 [1.50–4.03] hr versus 1.50 [0.500–8.00] hr; P = 0.02) after the first dose compared with non-pregnant women. There was no other significant difference observed in piperaquine pharmacokinetics between pregnant and non-pregnant women, including no difference in total drug exposure or maximum concentration. The overall pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine in this study were consistent with previously published reports in non-pregnant patients.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0410
PMCID: PMC3391055  PMID: 22764289
25.  Significant pharmacokinetic interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine in HIV-infected Ugandan adults 
Objectives
Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with antiretroviral therapy has potential for pharmacokinetic drug interactions. We investigated drug–drug interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine.
Methods
We performed a cross-over study in which HIV-infected adults received standard six-dose artemether/lumefantrine 80/480 mg before and at efavirenz or nevirapine steady state. Artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, efavirenz and nevirapine plasma concentrations were measured and compared.
Results
Efavirenz significantly reduced artemether maximum concentration (Cmax) and plasma AUC (median 29 versus 12 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 119 versus 25 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), dihydroartemisinin Cmax and AUC (median 120 versus 26 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 341 versus 84 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), and lumefantrine Cmax and AUC (median 8737 versus 6331 ng/mL, P = 0.03, and 280 370 versus 124 381 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Nevirapine significantly reduced artemether Cmax and AUC (median 28 versus 11 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 123 versus 34 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01) and dihydroartemisinin Cmax and AUC (median 107 versus 59 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 364 versus 228 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Lumefantrine Cmax and AUC were non-significantly reduced by nevirapine. Artemether/lumefantrine reduced nevirapine Cmax and AUC (median 8620 versus 4958 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 66 329 versus 35 728 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), but did not affect efavirenz exposure.
Conclusions
Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with efavirenz or nevirapine resulted in a reduction in artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine and nevirapine exposure. These drug interactions may increase the risk of malaria treatment failure and development of resistance to artemether/lumefantrine and nevirapine. Clinical data from population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic trials evaluating the impact of these drug interactions are urgently needed.
doi:10.1093/jac/dks207
PMCID: PMC3465101  PMID: 22687893
antimalarial; antiretroviral; malaria; drugs

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