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Measurement of lumefantrine and its metabolite in plasma by high performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection


Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis

Category: Publications

Author: Insaf F. Khalil, Ulla Abildrupa, Lene H. Alifrangis, Deogratius Maigad, Michael Alifrangis, Lotte Hoegberge, Lasse S. Vestergaarda, Ola Per-Eric Perssona, Nyagonde Nyagonded, Martha M. Lemnged, Thor G. Theandera, Ib C. Bygbjerga,

Published Date: 17 August 2010


Artemether-lumefantrine (ARM-LUM) has in recent years become the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in many Sub-Saharan African countries. Vigorous monitoring of the therapeutic efficacy of this treatment is needed. This requires high-quality studies following standard protocols; ideally, such studies should incorporate measurement of drug levels in the study patients to exclude the possibility that insufficient drug levels explain an observed treatment failure. Several methods for measuring lumefantrine (LUM) in plasma by HPLC are available; however, several of these methods have some limitations in terms of high costs and limited feasibility arising from large required sample volumes and demanding sample preparation. Therefore, we set out to develop a simpler reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) method based on UV detection for simultaneous measurement of LUM and its major metabolite the desbutyl LUM (DL) in plasma. Halofantrine was used as an internal standard. Liquid–liquid extraction of samples was carried out using hexane–ethyl acetate (70:30, v/v). Chromatographic separation was carried out on a Synergi Polar-RP column (250mm×300mm, particle size 4m). The mobile phase consisted of acetonitrile–0.1M ammonium acetate buffer adjusted to pH 4.9 (85:15%, v/v). Absorbance of the compounds was monitored at 335nm using a reference wavelength of 360 nm. Absolute extraction recovery for LUM and DL were 88% and 90%, respectively. Inter- and intraday coefficients of variation for LUM and DL were ≤10%. The lower limits of quantification for LUM and DL were 12.5 and 6.5 ng/ml, respectively. After validation, the methodology was transferred to a local laboratory in Tanga Tanzania and samples from a small subset of malaria patients were analysed for LUM. The method appears to be applicable in settings with limited facilities.


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