An analytical method with a single extraction procedure and two separate high performance liquid chromatographic systems for the determination of artesunate, dihydroartemisinin and mefloquine in human plasma for application in clinical pharmacological studies of the drug combination.
The combination of two sensitive, selective and reproducible reversed phase liquid chromatographic (RP-HPLC) methods was developed for the determination of artesunate (AS), its active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and mefloquine (MQ) in human plasma. Solid phase extraction (SPE) of the plasma samples was carried out on Supelclean LC-18 extraction cartridges. Chromatographic separation of AS, DHA and the internal standard, artemisinin (QHS), was obtained on a Hypersil C4 column with mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile–0.05 M acetic acid adjusted to pH 5.2 with 1.0 M NaOH (42:58, v/v) at the flow rate of 1.50 ml/min. The analytes were detected using an electrochemical detector operating in the reductive mode. Chromatography of MQ and the internal standard, chlorpromazine hydrochloride (CPM), was carried out on an Inertsil C8-3 column using methanol–acetonitrile–0.05 M potassium dihydrogen phosphate adjusted to pH 3.9 with 0.5% orthophosphoric acid (50:8:42, v/v/v) at a flow rate of 1.00 ml/min with ultraviolet detection at 284 nm. The mean recoveries of AS and DHA over a concentration range of 30–750 ng/0.5 ml plasma and MQ over a concentration of 75–1500 ng/0.5 ml plasma were above 80% and the accuracy ranged from 91.1 to 103.5%. The within-day coefficients of variation were 1.0–1.4% for AS, 0.4–3.4% for DHA and 0.7–1.5% for MQ. The day-to-day coefficients of variation were 1.3–7.6%, 1.8–7.8% and 2.0–3.4%, respectively. Both the lower limit of quantifications for AS and DHA were at 10 ng/0.5 ml and the lower limit of quantification for MQ was at 25 ng/0.5 ml. The limits of detection were 4 ng/0.5 ml for AS and DHA and 15 ng/0.5 ml for MQ. The method was found to be suitable for use in clinical pharmacological studies.
Journal of Chromatography B (2007) 857 (2) 308-314 [doi:10.1016/j.jchromb.2007.07.037].