Background Fixed-dose combinations of artemisinin combination therapy are strongly recommended to facilitate drug administration and compliance. New fixed-dose combinations must nevertheless be evaluated in relevant populations in terms of efficacy and pharmacokinetics.
Methods A single-arm, open-label, clinical trial was performed in Indian patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria to investigate the efficacy and the pharmacokinetics of mefloquine when combined with artesunate in a fixed-dose combination (400/200 mg of mefloquine base/artesunate). The pharmacokinetic analysis was performed using a population approach.
Results Seventy-seven patients were included in the study. Mefloquine pharmacokinetics obeys a two-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination. Mean parameter estimates (% inter-individual variability) were as follows: 0.16 h-1 (75%) for the absorption rate constant, 1.13 L/h (30%) for the apparent plasma clearance, 271 L (21%) for the apparent central distribution volume, 344 L (54%) for the apparent peripheral distribution volume, and 1.43 L/h for the apparent distribution clearance. These values were consistent with the pharmacokinetic results described in Thai patients. No significant covariate was found for clearance. Body weight explained the inter-individual variability of the apparent central and peripheral distribution volumes. The PCR-adjusted efficacy of the treatment was 100%.
Conclusions The lack of significant covariate explaining the inter-individual variability of mefloquine clearance, combined with the excellent efficacy, supports the use of the standard 200/400 mg of artesunate-mefloquine fixed-dose combination in Indian patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria.
Jullien, V.; Valecha, N.; Srivastava, B.; Sharma, B.; Kiechel, R. Population pharmacokinetics of mefloquine, administered as a fixed-dose combination of artesunate-mefloquine in Indian patients for the treatment of acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malaria Journal (2014) 13 (1) 187. [DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-13-187]