Pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, & bioequivalence Original research| Volume 34, ISSUE 11, P2212-2220, November 2012

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Pharmacokinetic Properties and Bioequivalence of Two Sulfadoxine/Pyrimethamine Fixed-Dose Combination Tablets: A Parallel-Design Study in Healthy Chinese Male Volunteers



      Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine fixed-dose combination (FDC) tablet is the long-acting portion of the antimalaria product Artecospe®, coblister containing artesunate tablets plus sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine FDC tablets. This study was conducted to support the efficacy and tolerability of the sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine FDC tablet in the World Health Organization's (WHO) Prequalification of Medicines Programme, as well as to obtain marketing authorization in China.


      The aim of the present study was to compare the pharmacokinetic profiles between a new generic and the branded reference formulation of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine FDC tablets, and to assess the bioequivalence of the 2 products in healthy Chinese volunteers.


      This single-dose, open-label, randomized, parallel-group study was conducted in healthy Chinese male volunteers who were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive a single 1500/75-mg dose (3 × 500/25-mg tablets) of either the test or reference formulation after a 12-hour overnight fast. Seventeen blood samples were obtained over a 168-hour interval, and plasma concentrations of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine were determined by 2 separate validated liquid chromatography–isotopic dilution mass spectrometry methods. Pharmacokinetic properties (Cmax, AUC0–72, AUC0–168, and Tmax) were calculated and analyzed statistically. The 2 formulations were to be considered bioequivalent if 90% CIs for the log-transformed ratios of Cmax and AUC0–72 were within the predetermined bioequivalence range of 80% to 125%, in accordance with the guidelines of WHO and China's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tolerability was evaluated throughout the study by vital signs, physical examinations, clinical laboratory tests, 12-lead ECGs, and subject interviews on adverse events (AEs).


      Forty-six healthy subjects completed the study. The mean values of sulfadoxine Cmax (183.07 and 165.15 mg/L), AUC0–72 (11,036.52 and 10,536.78 mg/L/h), and AUC0–168 (22,247.05 and 21,761.02 mg/L/h) were not significantly different between the test and reference formulations, respectively. The same was true for pyrimethamine (0.55 and 0.58 mg/L, 29.85 and 31.44 mg/L/h, and 56.18 and 59.27 mg/L/h, respectively). The 90% CIs for the log-transformed ratios of Cmax, AUC0–72, and AUC0–168 of both sulfadoxine (105.4%–116.6%, 99.3%–110.6%, and 96.4%–108.1%) and pyrimethamine (88.8%–100.9%, 89.5%–101.0%, and 88.3%–101.6%) were within the acceptance limits for bioequivalence. A total of 7 mild AEs were reported in 7 subjects (15.2%).


      The findings from this single-dose (1500/75-mg) study suggest that the test and reference formulations of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine FDC 500/25-mg tablet have similar pharmacokinetic profiles both in terms of rate and extent of absorption. The formulations met WHO's and China's FDA regulatory criteria for bioequivalence in these healthy Chinese volunteers under fasting conditions. Both formulations were generally well-tolerated.

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