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Treating malaria in HIV co-infected individuals should consider potential drug-drug interactions. Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely recommended treatment for uncomplicated malaria globally. Lumefantrine is metabolized by CYP3A4, an enzyme that commonly-used antiretrovirals often induce or inhibit. A population pharmacokinetic meta-analysis was conducted using individual participant data from ten studies, with 6,100 lumefantrine concentrations from 793 non-pregnant adult participants (41% HIV-malaria co-infected, 36% malaria-infected, 20% HIV-infected, and 3% healthy volunteers). Lumefantrine exposure increased 3.4-fold with co-administration of lopinavir/ritonavir-based antiretroviral therapy (ART), while it decreased by 47% with efavirenz-based ART and by 59% in the patients with rifampicin-based anti-tuberculosis treatment. Nevirapine- or dolutegravir-based ART and malaria- or HIV-infection were not associated with significant effects. Monte Carlo simulations showed that those on concomitant efavirenz or rifampicin have 49% and 80% probability of day-7 concentrations <200 ng/mL respectively, a threshold associated with an increased risk of treatment failure. The risk of achieving sub-therapeutic concentrations increases with larger body weight. An extended 5-day and 6-day artemether-lumefantrine regimen is predicted to overcome these drug-drug interactions with efavirenz and rifampicin respectively.

Original publication




Journal article


Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Publication Date



Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.