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In epidemiological studies, antimalarials measurements in blood represent the best available marker of drugs exposure at population level, an important driver for the emergence of drug resistance. We have developed a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method (LC-MS/MS) for the simultaneous quantification of 7 frequently used antimalarials (amodiaquine, chloroquine, quinine, sulfadoxine, pyrimethamine, mefloquine, lumefantrine) and 2 active metabolites (N-desethyl-amodiaquine, desbutyl-lumefantrine) in 10-μl dried blood spots (DBS). This sampling approach is suitable for field studies wherein blood samples processing, transportation and storage are problematic. Sample preparation included extraction from a 3 mm-disk punched out of the DBS with 100-μl of methanol + 1% formic acid containing deuterated internal standards for all drugs. Good performances were achieved in terms of trueness (-12.1 to +11.1%), precision (1.4-15.0%) and sensitivity, with lower limits of quantification comprised between 2 ng/ml (sulfadoxine) and 20 ng/ml (chloroquine, quinine, pyrimethamine, mefloquine, lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine). All analytes were stable in DBS kept for 24 h at room temperature and at 37 °C. The developed assay was applied within the frame of a pharmacokinetic study including 16 healthy volunteers who received a single dose of artemether-lumefantrine. Lumefantrine concentrations in plasma and in DBS were highly correlated (R = 0.97) at all time points, confirming the assumption that lumefantrine concentrations determined in DBS confidently reflect blood concentrations. The blood/plasma ratio of 0.56 obtained using the Bland-Altman approach (and corresponding to the slope of the linear regression) is in line with very low penetration of lumefantrine into red blood cells. This sensitive multiplex LC-MS/MS assay enabling the simultaneous analysis of antimalarials in DBS is suitable for epidemiological studies in field conditions.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis
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