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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007 Oct;101(10):972-9. Epub 2007 Aug 6.

Evaluation of the safety and relative bioavailability of a new dihydroartemisinin tablet formulation in healthy Thai volunteers.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand.


A new dihydroartemisinin (DHA) tablet formulation has been developed by the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO). In this report, its in vitro dissolution and in vivo pharmacokinetics as well as its safety in healthy volunteers were evaluated, using the DHA tablet made by Dafra Pharma NV as a reference. A two-period crossover clinical study design was utilised. Twenty-four volunteers were randomly allocated to two sequences (12 volunteers in each) to receive a 200mg single oral dose of either the GPO or Dafra formulation with a wash-out period of 5-7 days. In vitro, the GPO formulation dissolved more readily. In vivo, the GPO formulation had a higher maximum plasma concentration and approximately 149% (90% CI 125-179%) greater bioavailability. Both formulations were well tolerated. Interestingly, significant decreases in haemoglobin and haematocrit values (P<0.001) were noted following administration of one dose of DHA (decrease of 0.73 g/dl haemoglobin and 2.0% haematocrit compared with baseline) or two doses of DHA (decrease of 0.95 g/dl haemoglobin and 3.3% haematocrit compared with baseline). The second dose was associated with additional toxicity compared with one dose with regard to haematocrit (P<0.001) but not haemoglobin. This finding warrants further investigation, since the drug will be used for the treatment of malaria in which anaemia is a consequence.

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