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BACKGROUND: Amodiaquine is a 4-aminoquinoline used extensively for the treatment and prevention of malaria. Orally administered amodiaquine is largely converted to the active metabolite desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine can cause bradycardia, hypotension, and electrocardiograph (ECG) QT interval prolongation but the relationship of these changes to drug concentrations is not well-characterised. METHODS: We conducted a secondary analysis of a pharmacokinetic study of the cardiac safety of amodiaquine (10mg base/kg/day over 3 days) in 54 Kenyan adults (≥18 years) with uncomplicated malaria. Non-linear mixed effects modelling was used to assess amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine concentration-effect relationships for vital sign (pulse rate, blood pressure) and ECG interval (QT, QRS, PR) outcomes. We also measured the spontaneous beating heart rate after cumulative dosing of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in isolated mouse atrial preparations. RESULTS: Amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine caused concentration-dependent mean decreases in pulse rate (1.9beats/minute per 100nmol/L; 95% CI: 1.5-2.4), supine systolic blood pressure (1.7mmHg per 100nmol/L; 1.2-2.1), erect systolic blood pressure (1.5mmHg per 100nmol/L; 1.0-2.0), and erect diastolic blood pressure (1.4mmHg per 100nmol/L; 1.0-1.7). The mean QT interval prolongation was 1.4milliseconds per 100nmol/L irrespective of correction factor after adjustment for residual heart rate dependency. There was no significant effect of drug concentration on postural change in blood pressure or PR and QRS intervals. In mouse atria, the spontaneous beating rate was significantly reduced by amodiaquine (n=6) and desethylamodiaquine (n=8) at 3μmol/litre (amodiaquine:10±2%; desethylamodiaquine:12±3%) and 10μmol/litre (amodiaquine:50±7%; desethylamodiaquine:46±6%) concentrations with no significant difference in potency between the two compounds. CONCLUSION: Amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine have concentration-dependent effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and ventricular repolarisation.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Clin Pharmacol

Publication Date



QT prolongation, amodiaquine, antimalarial, cardiovascular, drug safety, malaria, pharmacodynamics, quinoline, tropical diseases