Chloroquine for treatment of P. vivax in 2 & 14 years olds from Brazilian Amazon

21 Dec 2019
de Sena LWP, Mello AGNC, Ferreira MVD, de Ataide MA, Dias RM, Vieira JLF


A total dose of chloroquine of 25 mg/kg is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to treat malaria by Plasmodium vivax. In several endemic areas, including the Brazilian Amazon basin, anti-malarial drugs are dispensed in small plastic bags at a dosing regimen based on age. This practice can lead to suboptimal dosing of the drug, which can impact treatment outcomes. The aim of the present study was to estimate the extent of sub-dosing of chloroquine in children and adolescents with vivax malaria using an age-based dose regimen, in addition to investigating the influence of age on the plasma concentrations of chloroquine and desethylchloroquine.


A study of cases was conducted with male patients with a confirmed infection by P. vivax, ages 2 to 14 years, using a combined regimen of chloroquine and primaquine. Height, weight and body surface area were determined at admission on the study. The total dose of chloroquine administered was estimated based on the weight and on the body surface area of the study patients. Chloroquine and desethylchloroquine were measured on Day 7 in each patient included in the study by a high-performance liquid chromatographic method with fluorescence detection.


A total of 81 patients were enrolled and completed the study. The median age was 9 years (2-14 years). All patients presented negative blood smears at 42 days follow-up. The total dose of chloroquine ranged from 13.1 to 38.1 mg/kg. The percentage of patients with a total dose of the drug below 25 mg/kg ranged from 29.4 to 63.6%. The total dose of chloroquine administered based on BSA ranged from 387 to 1079 mg/m, increasing with age. Plasma chloroquine concentrations ranged from 107 to 420 ng/ml, increasing with age. For desethylchloroquine, the plasma concentrations ranged from 167 to 390 ng/ml, with similar values among age-groups.


The data demonstrated the widespread exposure of children and adolescents to suboptimal doses of chloroquine in the endemic area investigated.