Pharmacokinetics of Pentavalent Antimony (Pentostam) in Hamsters

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  • Division of Experimental Therapeutics, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307

Pentavalent antimony (Sb) is the classical treatment for visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis. We investigated Sb levels in serum, liver, spleen, and skin of hamsters administered therapeutic dosages of Sb (600 and 300 mg Sb/kg). Single administration of Sb was more effective against hepatic parasites than dividing the same total dose into multiple administrations, which suggests that for elimination of hepatic parasites in vivo, peak Sb concentration is more important than total area-under-the-curve levels. Serum Sb declined with an initial half-life of 1 hr. Skin Sb levels (352 µg Sb/g 1 hr after 600 mg Sb/kg) were initially higher than liver levels (77 µg Sb/g) or splenic levels (156 µg Sb/g), but levels were comparable (7–24 µg Sb/g) in the three organs by 8 hr after dosing. The generally comparable levels of Sb in the skin and in the visceral organs support the present clinical practice of administering the same dosage of Sb for cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis.