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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Sep;67(9):2213-21. doi: 10.1093/jac/dks207. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Significant pharmacokinetic interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine in HIV-infected Ugandan adults.

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Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.



Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with antiretroviral therapy has potential for pharmacokinetic drug interactions. We investigated drug-drug interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine.


We performed a cross-over study in which HIV-infected adults received standard six-dose artemether/lumefantrine 80/480 mg before and at efavirenz or nevirapine steady state. Artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, efavirenz and nevirapine plasma concentrations were measured and compared.


Efavirenz significantly reduced artemether maximum concentration (C(max)) and plasma AUC (median 29 versus 12 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 119 versus 25 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), dihydroartemisinin C(max) and AUC (median 120 versus 26 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 341 versus 84 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), and lumefantrine C(max) and AUC (median 8737 versus 6331 ng/mL, P = 0.03, and 280 370 versus 124 381 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Nevirapine significantly reduced artemether C(max) and AUC (median 28 versus 11 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 123 versus 34 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01) and dihydroartemisinin C(max) and AUC (median 107 versus 59 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 364 versus 228 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Lumefantrine C(max) and AUC were non-significantly reduced by nevirapine. Artemether/lumefantrine reduced nevirapine C(max) and AUC (median 8620 versus 4958 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 66 329 versus 35 728 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), but did not affect efavirenz exposure.


Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with efavirenz or nevirapine resulted in a reduction in artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine and nevirapine exposure. These drug interactions may increase the risk of malaria treatment failure and development of resistance to artemether/lumefantrine and nevirapine. Clinical data from population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic trials evaluating the impact of these drug interactions are urgently needed.

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