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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Mar;63(3):271-8. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

Population pharmacokinetics of mefloquine in military personnel for prophylaxis against malaria infection during field deployment.

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School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, QLD, Australia.



The purpose of this study was to determine the population pharmacokinetics of mefloquine in healthy military personnel during prophylaxis for malaria infections.


The subjects were 1,111 Australian soldiers participating in two studies: a randomised double-blinded study (group A, 161 subjects) and an open-label study (group B, 950 subjects). Following a loading dose (250 mg mefloquine base daily, 3 days), subjects received an oral weekly maintenance dose of 250 mg over 6 months. Blood was collected after the last split loading dose then at weeks 4, 8 and 16 for group A, and at weeks 13 and 26 for group B. Plasma mefloquine concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pharmacokinetic modelling was performed using NONMEM.


A two-compartment model with inter-occasion variability (IOV) for clearance satisfactorily described the pharmacokinetics. Typical values were clearance (CL/F, 2.09 l/h), central volume of distribution (V1/F, 528 l), absorption rate constant (KA, 0.24 h(-1)), inter-compartmental clearance (Q/F, 12.5 l/h), peripheral volume of distribution (V2/F, 483 l) and elimination half-life (t (1/2), 14.0 days). Weight had a positive influence on central volume but was insufficient to warrant dosage adjustments. The inter-individual variability (coefficient of variation, CV%) for CL/F and V1/F was 24.4% and 29.6%, respectively. The IOV for CL/F was 17.8%. The proportional residual error (CV%) for groups A and B was 11.5% and 19.5%, respectively, and the additive error standard deviation (SD) was 57 ng/ml and 149 ng/ml, respectively.


The typical parameter values were comparable with those estimated in much smaller cohorts of healthy subjects and in malaria patients treated with single-dose mefloquine. The lower unexplained variability in the blinded study suggested these subjects may have been more compliant in taking their medication than soldiers in the open-label study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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