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Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine is recommended for intermittent preventative treatment of malaria during pregnancy. Data from 98 women during pregnancy and 77 after delivery in four African countries were analyzed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling to characterize the effects of pregnancy, postpartum duration, and other covariates such as body weight and hematocrit on sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine pharmacokinetic properties. During pregnancy, clearance increased 3-fold for sulfadoxine but decreased by 18% for pyrimethamine. Postpartum sulfadoxine clearance decreased gradually over 13 weeks. This finding, together with hematocrit-based scaling of plasma to whole-blood concentrations and allometric scaling of pharmacokinetics parameters with body weight, enabled site-specific differences in the pharmacokinetic profiles to be reduced significantly but not eliminated. Further research is necessary to explain residual site-specific differences and elucidate whether dose-optimization, to address the 3-fold increase in clearance of sulfadoxine in pregnant women, is necessary, viable, and safe with the current fixed dose combination of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine.

Original publication




Journal article


CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol

Publication Date





430 - 438


Adult, Africa, Antimalarials, Drug Combinations, Female, Humans, Malaria, Models, Biological, Postpartum Period, Pregnancy, Pyrimethamine, Sulfadoxine, Young Adult