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.)
Pathogenic Leptospira spp., the causative agents of leptospirosis, are slow-growing Gram-negative spirochetes. Isolation of Leptospira from clinical samples and testing of antimicrobial susceptibility are difficult and time-consuming. Here, we describe the development of a new solid medium that facilitates more-rapid growth of Leptospira spp. and the use of this medium to evaluate the Etest's performance in determining antimicrobial MICs to drugs in common use for leptospirosis. The medium was developed by evaluating the effects of numerous factors on the growth rate of Leptospira interrogans strain NR-20157. These included the type of base agar, the concentration of rabbit serum (RS), and the concentration and duration of CO2 incubation during the initial period of culture. The highest growth rate of NR-20157 was achieved using a Noble agar base supplemented with 10% RS (named LVW agar), with an initial incubation at 30°C in 5% CO2 for 2 days prior to continuous culture in air at 30°C. These conditions were used to develop the Etest for three species, L. interrogans (NR-20161), L. kirschnerii (NR-20327), and L. borgpetersenii (NR-20151). The MICs were read on day 7 for all samples. The Etest was then performed on 109 isolates of pathogenic Leptospira spp. The MIC90 values for penicillin G, doxycycline, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, and chloramphenicol were 0.64 units/ml and 0.19, 0.047, 0.5, and 2 μg/ml, respectively. The use of LVW agar, which enables rapid growth, isolation of single colonies, and simple antimicrobial susceptibility testing for Leptospira spp., provides an opportunity for new areas of fundamental and applied research.
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.
Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of antimalarial drugs are often affected by pregnancy, resulting in lower drug concentrations and a consequently higher risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Twenty-four pregnant and 24 matched nonpregnant women on the Thai-Myanmar boarder were treated with a standard fixed oral 3-day treatment, and venous plasma concentrations of both drugs were measured frequently for pharmacokinetic evaluation. Population pharmacokinetics were evaluated with nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The main pharmacokinetic finding was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but reduced exposure to dihydroartemisinin in pregnant compared to nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Piperaquine was best described by a three-compartment disposition model with a 45% higher elimination clearance and a 47% increase in relative bioavailability in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but a shorter terminal elimination half-life. Dihydroartemisinin was best described by a one-compartment disposition model with a 38% lower relative bioavailability in pregnant women than nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was a decreased total exposure to dihydroartemisinin. The shorter terminal elimination half-life of piperaquine and lower exposure to dihydroartemisinin will shorten the posttreatment prophylactic effect and might affect cure rates. The clinical impact of these pharmacokinetic findings in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria needs to be evaluated in larger series.
Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) is increasingly used to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality in children and pregnant women. The efficacy of IPT depends on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the antimalarial drugs used. Healthy adult male volunteers whose occupation put them at high risk of malaria on the Northwest border of Thailand were randomized to receive a 3-day-treatment dose of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine monthly (DPm) or every 2 months (DPalt) or an identical placebo with or without fat (6.4g/dose) over a 9-month period. All volunteers were monitored weekly. One thousand adults were recruited. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was well tolerated. There were 114 episodes of malaria (49 Plasmodium falciparum, 63 P. vivax, and 2 P. ovale). The protective efficacy against all malaria at 36 weeks was 98% (95% confidence interval [CI], 96% to 99%) in the DPm group and 86% (95% CI, 81% to 90%) in the DPalt group (for both, P < 0.0001 compared to the placebo group). As a result, the placebo group also had lower hematocrits during the study (P < 0.0001). Trough plasma piperaquine concentrations were the main determinant of efficacy; no malaria occurred in participants with a trough concentration above 31 ng/ml. Neither plasma piperaquine concentration nor efficacy was influenced by the coadministration of fat. DPm is safe to use and is effective in the prevention of malaria in adult males living in an area where P. vivax and multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria are endemic.
Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a new, highly effective, and well-tolerated combination treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The lipophilic characteristic of piperaquine suggests that administration together with fat will increase the oral bioavailability of the drug, and this has been reported for healthy volunteers. This pharmacokinetic study monitored 30 adult patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria for 4.5 months to evaluate the effects of the concomitant intake of fat on the total piperaquine exposure. The fixed-drug combination of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was given with water to fasting patients (n = 15) or was coadministered with 200 ml milk containing 6.4 g fat (n = 15). The drug combination was generally well tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects reported for either group during the study. Total piperaquine exposure (area under the concentration-time curve from zero to infinity [AUC0-∞]; results are given as medians [ranges]) were not statistically different between fed (29.5 h · μg/ml [20.6 to 58.7 h · μg/ml]) and fasting (23.9 h · μg/ml [11.9 to 72.9 h · μg/ml]) patients, but the interindividual variation was reduced in the fed group. Overall, none of the pharmacokinetic parameters differed statistically between the groups. Total piperaquine exposure correlated well with the day 7 concentrations in the fasted group, but the fed group showed a poor correlation. In conclusion, the coadministration of 6.4 g fat did not have any significant effect on piperaquine pharmacokinetics in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
In order to study the pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine during pregnancy, 24 pregnant women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and with Plasmodium vivax malaria were treated with amodiaquine (10 mg/kg of body weight/day) for 3 days. The same women were studied again at 3 months postpartum. Plasma was analyzed for amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine by use of a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method. Individual concentration-time data were evaluated using noncompartmental analysis. There were no clinically relevant differences in the pharmacokinetics of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine between pregnant (n = 24) and postpartum (n = 18) women. The results suggest that the current amodiaquine dosing regimen is adequate for the treatment of P. vivax infections during pregnancy.
There is no parenteral formulation of the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir, the most widely used anti-influenza virus drug. Oseltamivir resistance is an increasing problem. Zanamivir is effective against the most prevalent oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses. A parenteral formulation of zanamivir is in development for the treatment of severe influenza. It is not known if there is any pharmacokinetic interaction between the two drugs. Sixteen healthy Thai adult volunteers were studied in an open-label, four-period, randomized two-sequence crossover pharmacokinetic study in which zanamivir was given by constant-rate infusion or slow intravenous injection either alone or together with oral oseltamivir. Plasma concentration profiles of oseltamivir, the active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate, and zanamivir were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry. Both drugs were well tolerated alone and in combination. The maximum plasma concentrations and the areas under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC) of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were not significantly different when oseltamivir was given separately or together with zanamivir. Maximum plasma concentrations of zanamivir were 10% (95% confidence interval, 7 to 12%) higher when zanamivir was infused concurrently with oral oseltamivir than with infusions before or after oral oseltamivir. The plasma zanamivir total AUC was positively correlated with the total oseltamivir carboxylate AUC (Pearson's correlation coefficient [rP] = 0.720, P = 0.002, n = 16) but not with the oseltamivir AUC (rp = 0.121, n = 16). There is no clinically significant pharmacokinetic interaction between oseltamivir and zanamivir.
Mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum gene (dhfr) encoding dihydrofolate reductase are associated with resistance to antifols. Plasmodium vivax, the more prevalent malaria parasite in Asia and the Americas, is considered antifol resistant. Functional polymorphisms in the dhfr gene of P. vivax (pvdhfr) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism using blood samples taken from 125 patients with acute vivax malaria from three widely separated locations, Thailand (n = 100), India (n = 16), and Madagascar and the Comoros Islands (n = 9). Upon evaluation of the three important codons (encoding residues 57, 58, and 117) of P. vivax dhfr (pvdhfr), double- or triple-mutation genotypes were found in all but one case from Thailand (99%), in only three cases from India (19%) and in no cases from Madagascar or the Comoros Islands (P < 0.0001). The dhfr PCR products of P. vivax from 32 Thai patients treated with the antifolate sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (S-P) were investigated. All samples showed either double (53%) or triple (47%) mutations. Following treatment, 34% of the patients had early treatment failures and only 10 (31%) of the patients cleared their parasitemias for 28 days. There were no significant differences in cure rates, but parasite reduction ratios at 48 h were significantly lower for patients whose samples showed triple mutations than for those whose samples showed double mutations (P = 0.01). The three mutations at the pvdhfr codons for residues 57, 58, and 117 are associated with high levels of S-P resistance in P. vivax. These mutations presumably arose from selection pressure.
Antimalarial resistance develops and spreads when spontaneously occurring mutant malaria parasites are selected by concentrations of antimalarial drug which are sufficient to eradicate the more sensitive parasites but not those with the resistance mutation(s). Mefloquine, a slowly eliminated quinoline-methanol compound, is the most widely used drug for the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. It has been used at doses ranging between 15 and 25 mg of base/kg of body weight. Resistance to mefloquine has developed rapidly on the borders of Thailand, where the drug has been deployed since 1984. Mathematical modeling with population pharmacokinetic and in vivo and in vitro pharmacodynamic data from this region confirms that, early in the evolution of resistance, conventional assessments of the therapeutic response ≤28 days after treatment underestimate considerably the level of resistance. Longer follow-up is required. The model indicates that initial deployment of a lower (15-mg/kg) dose of mefloquine provides a greater opportunity for the selection of resistant mutants and would be expected to lead more rapidly to resistance than de novo use of the higher (25-mg/kg) dose.
Therapeutic responses to clindamycin in combination with quinine were assessed in adult Thai patients with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In total 204 patients were randomized to receive a 7-day oral treatment regimen of quinine (Q7) either alone (n = 68), in combination with clindamycin (Q7C7; n = 68), or in combination with tetracycline (Q7T7; n = 68). All patients had uncomplicated recoveries with no serious adverse effects. Fever clearance times for both of the two combination regimens (median of 47 h and range of 8 to 120 h for Q7C7 and median of 36 h and range of 8 to 117 h for Q7T7) were significantly shorter than that for the Q7-only regimen (median, 56; range, 4 to 152 h) (P = 0.002). Parasite clearance times (overall mean ± standard deviation, 78 ± 23 h) were not significantly different between the three treatment groups (P = 0.98). The cure rates assessed at 28 days of follow-up were 100% for Q7C7 and 98% for Q7T7, whereas the cure rate was 87% for the Q7-only regimen (P ≤ 0.04). Clindamycin in combination with quinine is a safe and effective treatment for multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria. This combination may be of particular value in children and pregnant women, in whom tetracyclines are contraindicated.
To examine the efficacy and safety of short courses of azithromycin and ofloxacin for treating multidrug-resistant (MDR, i.e., resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin, and cotrimoxazole) and nalidixic acid-resistant enteric fever, azithromycin (1 g once daily for 5 days at 20 mg/kg/day) and ofloxacin (200 mg orally twice a day for 5 days at 8 mg/kg/day) were compared in an open randomized study in adults admitted to a hospital with uncomplicated enteric fever. A total of 88 blood culture-confirmed patients were enrolled in the study (86 with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and 2 with S. enterica serovar Paratyphi A). Of these, 44 received azithromycin and 44 ofloxacin. A total of 68 of 87 (78%) isolates were MDR serovar Typhi, and 46 of 87 (53%) were nalidixic acid resistant. The MIC90 (range) of azithromycin was 8 (4 to 16) μg/ml for the isolates. The MIC90 (range) of ofloxacin for the nalidixic acid-sensitive isolates was 0.03 (0.015 to 0.06) μg/ml and for the nalidixic acid-resistant isolates it was 0.5 (0.25 to 1.0) μg/ml. There was no significant difference in the overall clinical cure rate with ofloxacin and azithromycin (38 of 44 [86.4%] versus 42 of 44 [95.5%]; P = 0.27) or in the patients infected with nalidixic acid-resistant typhoid (17 of 21 [81.0%] versus 24 of 25 [96.0%]; P = 0.16). However, patients with nalidixic acid-resistant typhoid treated with ofloxacin had a longer fever clearance time compared with those treated with azithromycin (174 [60 to 264] versus 135 [72 to 186] h; P = 0.004) and had positive fecal cultures after the end of treatment (7 of 17 [41%] versus 0 of 19 [0%]; P = 0.002). Both antibiotics were well tolerated. A 5-day course of azithromycin was effective for the treatment of enteric fever due to MDR and nalidixic-acid-resistant serovar Typhi, whereas the ofloxacin regimen chosen was less satisfactory for these strains.
The therapeutic responses to the eight most widely used antimalarial drugs were assessed in 207 adult patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria. This parasite does not cause marked sequestration, so parasite clearance can be used as a direct measure of antimalarial activity. The activities of these drugs in descending order were artesunate, artemether, chloroquine, mefloquine, quinine, halofantrine, primaquine, and pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine (PS). Therapeutic responses to PS were poor; parasitemias did not clear in 5 of the 12 PS-treated patients, whereas all the other patients made an initial recovery. Of 166 patients monitored for ≥28 days, 35% had reappearance of vivax malaria 11 to 65 days later and 7% developed falciparum malaria 5 to 21 days after the start of treatment. There were no significant differences in the times taken for vivax malaria reappearance among the different groups except for those given mefloquine and chloroquine, in which all vivax malaria reappearances developed >28 days after treatment, suggesting suppression of the first relapse by these slowly eliminated drugs. There was no evidence of chloroquine resistance. The antimalarial drugs vary considerably in their intrinsic activities and stage specificities of action.
Platelet-activating factor (PAF) is a potent endogenous proinflammatory mediator implicated in the pathogenesis of septic shock. A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of an intravenous PAF receptor antagonist (lexipafant) was conducted with 131 adult Thai patients with suspected severe sepsis (66 of whom had positive blood cultures). Detailed serial clinical, biochemical, and cytokine measurements were performed. Lexipafant treatment was well tolerated. The 28-day mortality in the lexipafant group (61.4%) was similar to that in the placebo group (62.6%). There was also no evidence that lexipafant affected clinical or biochemical measures of disease severity or the profile of sequentially measured plasma cytokine levels. PAF may not have an important role in the pathogenesis of severe sepsis.
Resistance to antimicrobial agents in Streptococcus pneumoniae is increasing rapidly in many Asian countries. There is little recent information concerning resistance levels in Vietnam. A prospective study of pneumococcal carriage in 911 urban and rural Vietnamese children, of whom 44% were nasal carriers, was performed. Carriage was more common in children <5 years old than in those ≥5 years old (192 of 389 [49.4%] versus 212 of 522 [40.6%]; P, 0.01). A total of 136 of 399 isolates (34%) had intermediate susceptibility to penicillin (MIC, 0.1 to 1 mg/liter), and 76 of 399 isolates (19%) showed resistance (MIC, >1.0 mg/liter). A total of 54 of 399 isolates (13%) had intermediate susceptibility to ceftriaxone, and 3 of 399 isolates (1%) were resistant. Penicillin resistance was 21.7 (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 67.6) times more common in urban than in rural children (35 versus 2%; P, <0.001). More than 40% of isolates from urban children were also resistant to erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Penicillin resistance was independently associated with an urban location when the age of the child was controlled for. Multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more antimicrobial agent groups) was present in 32% of isolates overall but in 39% of isolates with intermediate susceptibility to penicillin and 86% of isolates with penicillin resistance. The predominant serotypes of the S. pneumoniae isolates were 19, 23, 14, 6, and 18. Almost half of the penicillin-resistant isolates serotyped were serotype 23, and these isolates were often multidrug resistant. This study suggests that resistance to penicillin and other antimicrobial agents is common in carriage isolates of S. pneumoniae from children in Vietnam.
Combining artemisinin or a derivative with mefloquine increases cure rates in falciparum malaria patients, reduces transmission, and may slow the development of resistance. The combination of artesunate, given for 3 days, and mefloquine is now the treatment of choice for uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria acquired on the western or eastern borders of Thailand. To optimize mefloquine administration in this combination, a prospective study of mefloquine pharmacokinetics was conducted with 120 children (4 to 15 years old) with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria, who were divided into four age- and sex-matched groups. The patients all received artesunate (4 mg/kg of body weight/day orally for 3 days and mefloquine as either (i) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 2 with food, (ii) a split dose (15 mg/kg on day 2 and 10 mg/kg on day 3) with food, (iii) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 0 without food, or (iv) a single dose (25 mg/kg) on day 2 without food. Delaying administration of mefloquine until day 2 was associated with a mean (95% confidence interval) increase in estimated oral bioavailability of 72% (36 to 109%). On day 2 coadministration with food did not increase mefloquine absorption significantly, and there were no significant differences between patients receiving split- and single-dose administration. In combination with artesunate, mefloquine administration should be delayed until the second or third day after presentation.
The reduced in vivo sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum has recently been confirmed in western Cambodia. Identifying molecular markers for artemisinin resistance is essential for monitoring the spread of the resistant phenotype and identifying the mechanisms of resistance. Four candidate genes, including the P. falciparum mdr1 (pfmdr1) gene, the P. falciparum ATPase6 (pfATPase6) gene, the 6-kb mitochondrial genome, and ubp-1, encoding a deubiquitinating enzyme, of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains from western Cambodia were examined and compared to those of sensitive strains from northwestern Thailand, where the artemisinins are still very effective. The artemisinin-resistant phenotype did not correlate with pfmdr1 amplification or mutations (full-length sequencing), mutations in pfATPase6 (full-length sequencing) or the 6-kb mitochondrial genome (full-length sequencing), or ubp-1 mutations at positions 739 and 770. The P. falciparum CRT K76T mutation was present in all isolates from both study sites. The pfmdr1 copy numbers in western Cambodia were significantly lower in parasite samples obtained in 2007 than in those obtained in 2005, coinciding with a local change in drug policy replacing artesunate-mefloquine with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia is not linked to candidate genes, as was suggested by earlier studies.
Antifolate drugs have an important role in the treatment of malaria. Polymorphisms in the genes encoding the dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase enzymes cause resistance to the antifol and sulfa drugs, respectively. Rwanda has the highest levels of antimalarial drug resistance in Africa. We correlated the efficacy of chlorproguanil-dapsone plus artesunate (CPG-DDS+A) and amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AQ+SP) in children with uncomplicated malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum parasites with pfdhfr and pfdhps mutations, which are known to confer reduced drug susceptibility, in two areas of Rwanda. In the eastern province, where the cure rates were low, over 75% of isolates had three or more pfdhfr mutations and two or three pfdhps mutations and 11% had the pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism. In the western province, where the cure rates were significantly higher (P < 0.001), the prevalence of multiple resistance mutations was lower and the pfdhfr I164L polymorphism was not found. The risk of treatment failure following the administration of AQ+SP more than doubled for each additional pfdhfr resistance mutation (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01 to 5.55; P = 0.048) and each pfdhps mutation (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.21 to 3.54; P = 0.008). The risk of failure following CPG-DDS+A treatment was 2.2 times higher (95% CI = 1.34 to 3.7) for each additional pfdhfr mutation, whereas there was no association with mutations in the pfdhps gene (P = 0.13). The pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism is prevalent in eastern Rwanda. Antimalarial treatments with currently available antifol-sulfa combinations are no longer effective in Rwanda because of high-level resistance.
Melioidosis is an infectious disease with a propensity for relapse, despite prolonged antibiotic eradication therapy for 12 to 20 weeks. A pharmacokinetic (PK) simulation study was performed to determine the optimal dosing of cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole [TMP-SMX]) used in current eradication regimens in Thailand and Australia. Data for bioavailability, protein binding, and coefficients of absorption and elimination were taken from published literature. Apparent volumes of distribution were correlated with body mass and were estimated separately for Thai and Australian populations. In vitro experiments demonstrated concentration-dependent killing. In Australia, the currently used eradication regimen (320 [TMP]/1,600 [SMX] mg every 12 h [q12h]) was predicted to achieve the PK-pharmacodynamic (PD) target (an area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h/MIC ratio of >25 for both TMP and SMX) for strains with the MIC90 of Australian strains (≤1/19 mg/liter). In Thailand, the former regimen of 160/800 mg q12h would not be expected to attain the target for strains with an MIC of ≥1/19 mg/liter, but the recently implemented weight-based regimen (<40 kg [body weight], 160/800 mg q12h; 40 to 60 kg, 240/1,200 mg q12h; >60 kg, 320/1,600 mg q12h) would be expected to achieve adequate concentrations for strains with an MIC of ≤1/19 mg/liter. The results were sensitive to the variance of the PK parameters. Prospective PK-PD studies of Asian populations are needed to optimize TMP-SMX dosing in melioidosis.
Artemether-lumefantrine has become one of the most widely used antimalarial drugs in the world. The objective of this study was to determine the population pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant women with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria on the northwestern border of Thailand. Burmese and Karen women (n = 103) with P. falciparum malaria and in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (80/480 mg) twice daily for 3 days. All patients provided five capillary plasma samples for drug quantification, and the collection times were randomly distributed over 14 days. The concentration-time profiles of lumefantrine were assessed by nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The treatment failure rate (PCR-confirmed recrudescent infections at delivery) was high; 16.5% (95% confidence interval, 9.9 to 25.1). The population pharmacokinetics of lumefantrine were described well by a two-compartment open model with first-order absorption and elimination. The final model included interindividual variability in all pharmacokinetic parameters and a linear covariate relationship between the estimated gestational age and the central volume of distribution. A high proportion of all women (40%, 41/103) had day 7 capillary plasma concentrations of <355 ng/ml (which corresponds to approximately <280 ng/ml in venous plasma), a threshold previously associated with an increased risk of therapeutic failure in nonpregnant patients in this area. Predictive modeling suggests that a twice-daily regimen given for 5 days would be preferable in later pregnancy. In conclusion, altered pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine contribute to the high rates of failure of artemether-lumefantrine treatment in later pregnancy. Dose optimization is urgently needed.
Mefloquine is widely used in combination with artemisinin derivatives for the treatment of falciparum malaria. Mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has been related to increased copy numbers of multidrug-resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1). We studied the ex vivo dynamics of pfmdr1 gene amplification in culture-adapted P. falciparum in relation to mefloquine resistance and parasite fitness. A Thai P. falciparum isolate (isolate TM036) was assessed by the use of multiple genetic markers as a single genotype. Resistance was selected by exposure to stepwise increasing concentrations of mefloquine up to 30 ng/ml in continuous culture. The pfmdr1 gene copy numbers increased as susceptibility to mefloquine declined (P = 0.03). No codon mutations at positions 86, 184, 1034, 1042, and 1246 in the pfmdr1 gene were detected. Two subclones of selected parasites (average copy numbers, 2.3 and 3.1, respectively) showed a fitness disadvantage when they were grown together with the original parasites containing a single pfmdr1 gene copy in the absence of mefloquine; the multiplication rates were 6.3% and 8.7% lower, respectively (P < 0.01). Modeling of the dynamics of the pfmdr1 copy numbers over time in relation to the relative fitness of the parasites suggested that net pfmdr1 gene amplification from one to two copies occurs once in every 108 parasites and that amplification from two to three copies occurs once in every 103 parasites. pfmdr1 gene amplification in P. falciparum is a frequent event and confers mefloquine resistance. Parasites with multiple copies of the pfmdr1 gene have decreased survival fitness in the absence of drug pressure.
Plasmodium vivax mdr1 gene amplification, quantified by real-time PCR, was significantly more common on the western Thailand border (6 of 66 samples), where mefloquine pressure has been intense, than elsewhere in southeast Asia (3 of 149; P = 0.02). Five coding mutations in pvmdr1, independent of gene amplification, were also found.
Plasmodium malariae, the parasite responsible for quartan malaria, is transmitted in most areas of malaria endemicity and is associated with significant morbidity. The sequence of the gene coding for the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) was obtained from field isolates of P. malariae and from the closely related simian parasite Plasmodium brasilianum. The two sequences were nearly 100% homologous, adding weight to the notion that they represent genetically distinct lines of the same species. A survey of polymorphisms of the dhfr sequences in 35 isolates of P. malariae collected from five countries in Asia and Africa revealed a low number of nonsynonymous mutations in five codons. In five of the isolates collected from southeast Asia, a nonsynonymous mutation was found at one of the three positions known to be associated with antifolate resistance in other Plasmodium species. Five isolates with the wild-type DHFR could be assayed for drug susceptibility in vitro and were found to be sensitive to pyrimethamine (mean 50% inhibitory concentration, 2.24 ng/ml [95% confidence interval, 0.4 to 3.1]).
Ex vivo conversion of the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir to its active metabolite can be inhibited by the esterase inhibitor dichlorvos or by using commercial fluoride-oxalate tubes. Oseltamivir and its active metabolite remain intact in plasma samples during a proposed virus heat inactivation step: incubation at 60°C for 45 min.