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Clin Pharmacokinet. 1985 May-Jun;10(3):187-215.

Clinical pharmacokinetics of antimalarial drugs.


For the past 300 years antimalarial dosage regimens have not been based on pharmacokinetic information. However, now that this information is available, it is appropriate to examine current recommendations for prophylaxis and treatment. In healthy subjects, the cinchona alkaloids (quinine and quinidine), primaquine and proguanil (chloroguanide) are all rapidly eliminated with half-lives (t1/2 beta) of between 6 and 12 hours. Hepatic biotransformation accounts for approximately 80, 96 and 50% of their total clearance, respectively. In malaria, the pharmacokinetic properties of quinine and quinidine are significantly altered with a decrease in the apparent volume of distribution (Vd), prolongation of the elimination half-life, and a reduction in systemic clearance (CL) that is proportional to the severity of infection. Red cell concentrations and plasma protein binding are both increased in severe disease. Parenteral quinine or quinidine should be given by slow intravenous infusion rather than by intravenous or intramuscular injection, and a loading dose is necessary in severe infections. Chloroquine (t1/2 beta 6 to 50 days) and mefloquine (t1/2 beta 6.5 to 33 days) have extensive tissue distribution and prolonged activity after a single dose. Both drugs are concentrated in erythrocytes and 55% of chloroquine and 98% of mefloquine in plasma is bound to protein. The pharmacokinetics of chloroquine are complex and, because of the extremely long beta phase, difficult to accurately define. Pyrimethamine (t1/2 35 to 175 hours) has more limited tissue distribution, plasma and erythrocyte concentrations are similar, and 85% of the drug in plasma is bound to plasma proteins. The clearance of quinine, mefloquine and pyrimethamine appears to be higher in children than in adults. Currently, most of the information available on disposition of antimalarial drugs in humans is derived from studies in healthy adult subjects. More information is required on their pharmacokinetics in malaria, pregnancy, and in young children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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