Artemisinins are primarily responsible for initial parasite clearance. Antimalarial pharmacokinetics (PK), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and antiretroviral therapy have been shown to impact treatment outcomes, although their impact on early parasite clearance in children has not been well characterized.Methods.
Parasite clearance parameters were generated from twice-daily blood smears in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Ugandan children treated with artemether-lumefantrine (AL). Artemether and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) area-under-the-curve from 0–8 hours (AUC0-8hr) after the 1st AL dose was compared with AUC0-8hr after the last (6th) dose in a concurrently enrolled cohort. The association between post-1st dose artemisinin AUC0-8hr and parasite clearance was assessed.Results.
Parasite clearance was longer in HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected children (median, 3.5 vs 2.8 hours; P = .003). Artemether AUC0-8hr was 3- to 4-fold lower after the 6th dose versus the 1st dose of AL in HIV-infected children on nevirapine- or lopinavir/ritionavir-based regimens and in HIV-uninfected children (P ≤ .002, 1st vs 6th-dose comparisons). Children on efavirenz exhibited combined post-1st dose artemether/DHA exposure that was significantly lower than those on lopinavir/ritonavir and HIV-uninfected children. Multiple regression analysis supported that the effect of artemether/DHA exposure on parasite clearance was significantly moderated by HIV status.Conclusions.
Parasite clearance rates remain rapid in Uganda and were not found to associate with PK exposure. However, significant decreases in artemisinin PK with repeated dosing in nearly all children, coupled with small, but significant increase in parasite clearance half-life in those with HIV, may have important implications for AL efficacy, particularly because reports of artemisinin resistance are increasing.