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BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is a medical emergency with high mortality. Prompt achievement of therapeutic concentrations of highly effective anti-malarial drugs reduces the risk of death. The aim of this study was to assess the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of intravenous artesunate in Ugandan adults with severe malaria. METHODS: Fourteen adults with severe falciparum malaria requiring parenteral therapy were treated with 2.4 mg/kg intravenous artesunate. Blood samples were collected after the initial dose and plasma concentrations of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin measured by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The study was approved by the Makerere University Faculty of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee (Ref2010-015) and Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (HS605) and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01122134). RESULTS: All study participants achieved prompt resolution of symptoms and complete parasite clearance with median (range) parasite clearance time of 17 (8-24) hours. Median (range) maximal artesunate concentration (Cmax) was 3260 (1020-164000) ng/mL, terminal elimination half-life (T1/2) was 0.25 (0.1-1.8) hours and total artesunate exposure (AUC) was 727 (290-111256) ng·h/mL. Median (range) dihydroartemisinin Cmax was 3140 (1670-9530) ng/mL, with Tmax of 0.14 (0.6 - 6.07) hours and T1/2 of 1.31 (0.8-2.8) hours. Dihydroartemisinin AUC was 3492 (2183-6338) ng·h/mL. None of the participants reported adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma concentrations of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were achieved rapidly with rapid and complete symptom resolution and parasite clearance with no adverse events.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1475-2875-11-132

Type

Journal article

Journal

Malar J

Publication Date

27/04/2012

Volume

11

Keywords

Adult, Antimalarials, Artemisinins, Chromatography, Liquid, Female, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Malaria, Male, Plasma, Tandem Mass Spectrometry, Uganda