Tafenoquine is an 8-aminoquinoline under investigation for the prevention of relapse in Plasmodium vivax malaria. This open-label, dose-escalation study assessed quantitatively the hemolytic risk with tafenoquine in female healthy volunteers heterozygous for the Mahidol487A glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)- deficient variant versus G6PD-normal females, and with reference to primaquine. Six G6PD-heterozygous subjects (G6PD enzyme activity 40–60% of normal) and six G6PD-normal subjects per treatment group received single-dose tafenoquine (100, 200, or 300 mg) or primaquine (15 mg × 14 days). All participants had pretreatment hemoglobin levels 12.0 g/dL. Tafenoquine dose escalation stopped when hemoglobin decreased by 2.5 g/dL (or hematocrit decline 7.5%) versus pretreatment values in 3/6 subjects. A dose–response was evident in G6PD-heterozygous subjects (N = 15) receiving tafenoquine for the maximum decrease in hemoglobin versus pretreatment values. Hemoglobin declines were similar for tafenoquine 300 mg (2.65 to 2.95 g/dL [N = 3]) and primaquine (1.25 to 3.0 g/dL [N = 5]). Two further cohorts of G6PD-heterozygous subjects with G6PD enzyme levels 61–80% (N = 2) and > 80% (N = 5) of the site median normal received tafenoquine 200 mg; hemolysis was less pronounced at higher G6PD enzyme activities. Tafenoquine hemolytic potential was dose dependent, and hemolysis was greater in G6PD-heterozygous females with lower G6PD enzyme activity levels. Single-dose tafenoquine 300 mg did not appear to increase the severity of hemolysis versus primaquine 15 mg × 14 days.
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