New fixed-dose artesunate-mefloquine formulation against multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in adults: a comparative phase IIb safety and pharmacokinetic study with standard-dose nonfixed artesunate plus mefloquine.
- Public Health Research
A new fixed-dose artesunate (AS)-mefloquine (MQ) was assessed in adults hospitalized for 28 days with uncomplicated drug-resistant falciparum malaria. The patients (n = 25/arm) were treated with (i) two fixed-dose tablets (AS-MQ arm; 100 mg AS-200 mg MQ/tablet) daily for 3 days (days 0, 1, and 2) or (ii) nonfixed AS (AS-plus-MQ arm; 4 mg/kg of body weight/day for 3 days) plus MQ (15 mg/kg on day 1 and 10 mg/kg on day 2), dosed by weight. Clinical laboratory electrocardiogram (ECG), adverse events (AEs), efficacy, and pharmacokinetic parameters were assessed over 28 days. Both regimens were well tolerated. No AEs were drug related. Two serious AEs of malaria-induced hypotension occurring in the AS-MQ arm necessitated rescue treatment. There were no significant changes in hematology, biochemistry, or PR and QRS intervals. For all patients, mean Fridericia-corrected QT intervals were significantly (P < or = 0.0027) prolonged on day 3 (407 ms) and day 7 (399 ms) versus day 0 (389 ms), in parallel with significant (P < or = 0.0003) falls in heart rates (67 [day 3], 73 [day 7], and 83 [day 0] beats/minute). Fixed-nonfixed formulations were bioequivalent for MQ, but not for AS and dihydroartemisinin (DHA). One AS-MQ patient developed a new infection on day 28; his day 28 plasma MQ concentration was 503.8 ng/ml. Fixed-dose AS-MQ was well tolerated, had pharmacokinetic (PK) profiles broadly similar to those of nonfixed AS plus MQ, and is a suitable replacement.