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1.  The Interactions of P-Glycoprotein with Antimalarial Drugs, Including Substrate Affinity, Inhibition and Regulation 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0152677.
The combination of passive drug permeability, affinity for uptake and efflux transporters as well as gastrointestinal metabolism defines net drug absorption. Efflux mechanisms are often overlooked when examining the absorption phase of drug bioavailability. Knowing the affinity of antimalarials for efflux transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp) may assist in the determination of drug absorption and pharmacokinetic drug interactions during oral absorption in drug combination therapies. Concurrent administration of P-gp inhibitors and P-gp substrate drugs may also result in alterations in the bioavailability of some antimalarials. In-vitro Caco-2 cell monolayers were used here as a model for potential drug absorption related problems and P-gp mediated transport of drugs. Artemisone had the highest permeability at around 50 x 10−6 cm/sec, followed by amodiaquine around 20 x 10−6 cm/sec; both mefloquine and artesunate were around 10 x 10−6 cm/sec. Methylene blue was between 2 and 6 x 10−6 cm/sec depending on the direction of transport. This 3 fold difference was able to be halved by use of P-gp inhibition. MRP inhibition also assisted the consolidation of the methylene blue transport. Mefloquine was shown to be a P-gp inhibitor affecting our P-gp substrate, Rhodamine 123, although none of the other drugs impacted upon rhodamine123 transport rates. In conclusion, mefloquine is a P-gp inhibitor and methylene blue is a partial substrate; methylene blue may have increased absorption if co-administered with such P-gp inhibitors. An upregulation of P-gp was observed when artemisone and dihydroartemisinin were co-incubated with mefloquine and amodiaquine.
PMCID: PMC4821601  PMID: 27045516
2.  A quick inexpensive laboratory method in acute paracetamol poisoning could improve risk assessment, management and resource utilization 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2012;44(4):463-468.
Acute paracetamol poisoning is an emerging problem in Sri Lanka. Management guidelines recommend ingested dose and serum paracetamol concentrations to assess the risk. Our aim was to determine the usefulness of the patient's history of an ingested dose of >150 mg/kg and paracetamol concentration obtained by a simple colorimetric method to assess risk in patients with acute paracetamol poisoning.
Materials and Methods:
Serum paracetamol concentrations were determined in 100 patients with a history of paracetamol overdose using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC); (reference method). The results were compared to those obtained with a colorimetric method. The utility of risk assessment by reported dose ingested and colorimetric analysis were compared.
The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the history of ingested dose was 0.578 and there was no dose cut-off providing useful risk categorization. Both analytical methods had less than 5% intra- and inter-batch variation and were accurate on spiked samples. The time from blood collection to result was six times faster and ten times cheaper for colorimetry (30 minutes, US$2) than for HPLC (180 minutes, US$20). The correlation coefficient between the paracetamol levels by the two methods was 0.85. The agreement on clinical risk categorization on the standard nomogram was also good (Kappa = 0.62, sensitivity 81%, specificity 89%).
History of dose ingested alone greatly over-estimated the number of patients who need antidotes and it was a poor predictor of risk. Paracetamol concentrations by colorimetry are rapid and inexpensive. The use of these would greatly improve the assessment of risk and greatly reduce unnecessary expenditure on antidotes.
PMCID: PMC3469948  PMID: 23087506
Acute poisoning; paracetamol concentration; risk assessment
3.  Interspecies Allometric Scaling of Antimalarial Drugs and Potential Application to Pediatric Dosing 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2014;58(10):6068-6078.
Pharmacopeial recommendations for administration of antimalarial drugs are the same weight-based (mg/kg of body weight) doses for children and adults. However, linear calculations are known to underestimate pediatric doses; therefore, interspecies allometric scaling data may have a role in predicting doses in children. We investigated the allometric scaling relationships of antimalarial drugs using data from pharmacokinetic studies in mammalian species. Simple allometry (Y = a × Wb) was utilized and compared to maximum life span potential (MLP) correction. All drugs showed a strong correlation with clearance (CL) in healthy controls. Insufficient data from malaria-infected species other than humans were available for allometric scaling. The allometric exponents (b) for CL of artesunate, dihydroartemisinin (from intravenous artesunate), artemether, artemisinin, clindamycin, piperaquine, mefloquine, and quinine were 0.71, 0.85, 0.66, 0.83, 0.62, 0.96, 0.52, and 0.40, respectively. Clearance was significantly lower in malaria infection than in healthy (adult) humans for quinine (0.07 versus 0.17 liter/h/kg; P = 0.0002) and dihydroartemisinin (0.81 versus 1.11 liters/h/kg; P = 0.04; power = 0.6). Interpolation of simple allometry provided better estimates of CL for children than MLP correction, which generally underestimated CL values. Pediatric dose calculations based on simple allometric exponents were 10 to 70% higher than pharmacopeial (mg/kg) recommendations. Interpolation of interspecies allometric scaling could provide better estimates than linear scaling of adult to pediatric doses of antimalarial drugs; however, the use of a fixed exponent for CL was not supported in the present study. The variability in allometric exponents for antimalarial drugs also has implications for scaling of fixed-dose combinations.
PMCID: PMC4187962  PMID: 25092696
4.  A cost effectiveness analysis of the preferred antidotes for acute paracetamol poisoning patients in Sri Lanka 
Acute paracetamol poisoning is a rapidly increasing problem in Sri Lanka. The antidotes are expensive and yet no health economic evaluation has been done on the therapy for acute paracetamol poisoning in the developing world. The aim of this study is to determine the cost effectiveness of using N-acetylcysteine over methionine in the management of acute paracetamol poisoning in Sri Lanka.
Economic analysis was applied using public healthcare system payer perspective.
Costs were obtained from a series of patients admitted to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka with a history of acute paracetamol overdose. Evidence on effectiveness was obtained from a systematic review of the literature. Death due to hepatotoxicity was used as the primary outcome of interest. Analysis and development of decision tree models was done using Tree Age Pro 2008.
An affordable treatment threshold of Sri Lankan rupees 1,537,120/death prevented was set from the expected years of productive life gained and the average contribution to GDP. A cost-minimisation analysis was appropriate for patients presenting within 10 hours and methionine was the least costly antidote. For patients presenting 10-24 hours after poisoning, n-acetylcysteine was more effective and the incremental cost effectiveness ratio of Sri Lankan rupees 316,182/life saved was well under the threshold. One-way and multi-way sensitivity analysis also supported methionine for patients treated within 10 hours and n-acetylcysteine for patients treated within 10-24 hours as preferred antidotes.
Post ingestion time is an important determinant of preferred antidotal therapy for acute paracetamol poisoning patients in Sri Lanka. Using n-acetylcysteine in all patients is not cost effective. On economic grounds, methionine should become the preferred antidote for Sri Lankan patients treated within 10 hours of the acute ingestion and n-acetylcysteine should continue to be given to patients treated within 10-24 hours.
PMCID: PMC3350452  PMID: 22353666
6.  Medicine prices, availability and affordability in Sri Lanka 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2011;43(1):60-63.
No pricing formula has been implemented from November 2002 to date in Sri Lanka. Therefore, we initiated a study in 2003 to determine the prices, availability and affordability of medicines in the private sector of Sri Lanka in the absence of a price control.
Materials and Methods:
The World Health Organization/Health Action International methodology was used. The study was conducted in retail pharmacies (Rajya Osu Sala) of State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (semigovernment) and privately owned retail pharmacies (n = 15) in 2003, 2006 and 2009 in a geographical area. Essential medicines (n = 28) were studied and, for each medicine, innovator, most sold generic and cheapest generic were monitored. The medicine’s median price was compared with the international reference prices (IRP) to obtain the median price ratio. The daily wage of the lowest-paid government worker was used to calculate affordability.
Innovators were five to six-times the IRP at privately owned pharmacies and four to seven-times at the Rajya Osu Sala. The prices of generics were ≤1 the IRP during 6 years in privately owned and Rajya Osu Sala pharmacies. Cheapest generics were high in availability (>80%) throughout the study period. Innovators cost more than a day’s wage of the lowest-paid government worker; in contrast, generics were always less than one day’s wage. There seems to be no difference in affordability between privately owned or semigovernment pharmacies.
In Sri Lanka, generic medicines have effective pricing and are available and affordable. No drastic changes in prices of medicine in the private sector were observed over the 6 years despite removal of price control.
PMCID: PMC3062124  PMID: 21455424
Affordability; availability; medicine prices; price control

Results 1-6 (6)