Piperaquine population pharmacokinetics and cardiac safety in Cambodia

Pattaraporn Vanachayangkul*, Chanthap Lon, Michele Spring, Sommethy Sok, Winita Ta-Aksorn, Chanikarn Kodchakorn, Sut Thang Pann, Soklyda Chann, Mali Ittiverakul, Sabaithip Sriwichai, Nillawan Buathong, Worachet Kuntawunginn, Mary So, Theng Youdaline, Erin Milner, Mariusz Wojnarski, Charlotte Lanteri, Jessica Manning, Satharath Prom, Mark HaigneyLouis Cantilena, David Saunders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Despite the rising rates of resistance to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP), DP remains a first-line therapy for uncomplicated malaria in many parts of Cambodia. While DP is generally well tolerated as a 3-day DP (3DP) regimen, compressed 2-day DP (2DP) regimens were associated with treatment-limiting cardiac repolarization effects in a recent clinical trial. To better estimate the risks of piperaquine on QT interval prolongation, we pooled data from three randomized clinical trials conducted between 2010 and 2014 in northern Cambodia. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed to compare exposure-response relationships between the 2DP and 3DP regimens while accounting for differences in regimen and sample collection times between studies. A 2-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination without covariates best fit the data. The linear slopeintercept model predicted a 0.05-ms QT prolongation per ng/ml of piperaquine (5 ms per 100 ng/ml) in this largely male population. Though the plasma half-life was similar in both regimens, peak and total piperaquine exposures were higher in those treated with the 2DP regimen. Furthermore, the correlation between the plasma piperaquine concentration and the QT interval prolongation was stronger in the population receiving the 2DP regimen. Neither the time since the previous meal nor the baseline serum magnesium or potassium levels had additive effects on QT interval prolongation. As electrocardiographic monitoring is often nonexistent in areas where malaria is endemic, 2DP regimens should be avoided and the 3DP regimen should be carefully considered in settings where viable alternative therapies exist. When DP is employed, the risk of cardiotoxicity can be mitigated by combining a 3-day regimen, enforcing a 3-h fast before and after administration, and avoiding the concomitant use of QT interval-prolonging medications. (This study used data from three clinical trials that are registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifiers NCT01280162, NCT01624337, and NCT01849640.).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02000
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimalarial agents
  • Cardiac safety
  • Piperaquine
  • QT prolongation


Dive into the research topics of 'Piperaquine population pharmacokinetics and cardiac safety in Cambodia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this