Chlorproguanil (CPG)–dapsone (DDS)−artesunate was in development for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The pharmacokinetics of CPG, DDS, artesunate and their metabolites chlorcycloguanil (CCG), monoacetyl dapsone (MADDS) and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) were investigated in patients with P. falciparum given CPG−DDS alone or plus artesunate.
Adult patients from Malawi and The Gambia taking part in a phase II clinical trial were randomised to receive a 3-day treatment of CPG–DDS alone (2/2.5 mg/kg/day) or plus 1, 2 or 4 mg/kg/day artesunate. Blood samples for pharmacokinetic analysis were collected up to 24 h post–first dose.
The pharmacokinetic analysis included 115 patients. For CPG, there was no significant effect of artesunate on Cmax or AUC(0–24), except the 90% confidence interval (CI) for AUC(0−24) for the 4 mg/kg artesunate dose was slightly below that for the standard bioequivalence range (90% CI 0.78, 1.11); this was not considered clinically relevant. Artesunate increased the CCG AUC(0−24) by 6−17% and Cmax by 0−16%. Artesunate had no significant effect on the rate or extent of absorption of DDS. For MADDS, artesunate increased the AUC(0−24) by 13−47% and Cmax by 8−45%. For 1, 2 and 4 mg/kg artesunate dosing, artesunate AUC(0−∞) was 64.6, 151 and 400 ng·h/ml and Cmax 48.9, 106 and 224 ng/ml respectively; DHA AUC(0−∞) was 538, 1,445 and 3,837 ng·h/ml and Cmax 228, 581 and 1,414 ng/ml respectively. Using a power model, the point estimates of slope were greater than 1 for artesunate AUC(0−t) by 16% and Cmax by 5% and for DHA by 39 and 21% respectively.
Artesunate did not significantly affect CPG or DDS pharmacokinetics. For CCG and MADDS, small to moderate increases in exposure with artesunate dosing were observed. There was a greater than proportional increase in artesunate and DHA exposure with increasing artesunate dose. These effects are not considered to be clinically relevant. It should be noted that the CPG−DDS−artesunate programme has now been stopped following unacceptable haematological toxicity in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency during a phase III trial. In addition, the CPG−DDS combination has been withdrawn from clinical use.
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