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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1988;82(1):69-72.

Pharmacokinetics of antimony during treatment of visceral leishmaniasis with sodium stibogluconate or meglumine antimoniate.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC.


5 patients with visceral leishmaniasis were treated with sodium stibogluconate (2 patients) or meglumine antimoniate (3 patients) given intramuscularly at a dose of 10 mg antimony (Sb) per kg body weight daily for 30 d. Blood samples were obtained at intervals during treatment and blood Sb concentrations measured by anodic stripping voltametry. The pharmacokinetics of both drugs were remarkably similar, with peak concentrations of approximately 10 mg/litre occurring 2 h after the initial dose. Most of the Sb was eliminated rapidly, but nadir Sb concentrations increased gradually during treatment from 0.04-0.08 mg/litre 24 h after the first dose to 0.19-0.33 mg/litre 24 h after the 30th dose. For both drugs, the data were best described by a two compartment, three term pharmacokinetic model representing an initial absorption phase with a mean half-life of 0.85 h, a rapid elimination phase with a mean half-life of 2.02 h, and a slow elimination phase with a mean half-life of 76 h. The slow terminal elimination phase may be related to in vivo conversion of pentavalent Sb to trivalent Sb, which could contribute to the toxicity associated with long-term high dose therapy.

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