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Quantifying the pharmacology of antimalarial drug combination therapy.

Hastings, Ian ORCID:, Hodel, EvaMaria ORCID: and Kay, Katherine (2016) 'Quantifying the pharmacology of antimalarial drug combination therapy.'. Scientific Reports, Vol 6, p. 32762.

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Most current antimalarial drugs are combinations of an artemisinin plus a 'partner' drug from another class, and are known as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). They are the frontline drugs in treating human malaria infections. They also have a public-health role as an essential component of recent, comprehensive scale-ups of malaria interventions and containment efforts conceived as part of longer term malaria elimination efforts. Recent reports that resistance has arisen to artemisinins has caused considerable concern. We investigate the likely impact of artemisinin resistance by quantifying the contribution artemisinins make to the overall therapeutic capacity of ACTs. We achieve this using a simple, easily understood, algebraic approach and by more sophisticated pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analyses of drug action; the two approaches gave consistent results. Surprisingly, the artemisinin component typically makes a negligible contribution (≪0.0001%) to the therapeutic capacity of the most widely used ACTs and only starts to make a significant contribution to therapeutic outcome once resistance has started to evolve to the partner drugs. The main threat to antimalarial drug effectiveness and control comes from resistance evolving to the partner drugs. We therefore argue that public health policies be re-focussed to maximise the likely long-term effectiveness of the partner drugs.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 256 Antimalarials
QV Pharmacology > QV 38 Drug action.
QW Microbiology and Immunology > QW 45 Microbial drug resistance. General or not elsewhere classified.
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 765 Prevention and control
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2016 10:41
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 11:29


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