The Influence of Acetylator Phenotype on the Response to Sulfalene in Individuals with Chloroquine-Resistant Falciparum Malaria

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  • Laboratory for Tropical Diseases and Departments of Pharmacology and Medicine, Rush University, Chicago, Illinois 60608

The disposition of sulfalene was studied in eight individuals before and during an infection with a chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum. Isoniazid acetylator phenotype was determined in each individual prior to the administration of sulfalene. Following the administration of sulfalene before infection with malaria, a significant difference in half-life of non-acetylated sulfalene and percent acetylation of sulfalene in plasma was observed between rapid and slow acetylators. When sulfalene was administered during malaria, this difference was no longer apparent. Individuals who did not respond to the therapeutic administration of sulfalene alone were treated with a combination of sulfalene and pyrimethamine. Three individuals were cured by sulfalene without pyrimethamine and one was cured by the drug combination. Three of the four individuals who were not cured by any dose of sulfalene or the drug combination were slow acetylators. There was no distinct correlation between clinical response and maximum levels or half-life of nonacetylated sulfalene. These findings suggest that acetylator phenotype does not influence the therapeutic response of individuals infected with falciparum malaria to sulfalene or to the combination of sulfalene and pyrimethamine. Further information is presented, however, to confirm the importance of an as yet unidentified host factor(s) in determining therapeutic response to these agents.

Author Notes

Present address: University of California—San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Present address: Department of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106.