Cardiac effects of amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in malaria-infected African patients.

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  • 1 Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Yaoundé, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroon.

The cardiac effect of amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was studied in adult Cameroonian patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria by electrocardiographic monitoring over the course of 7 days. Clinical and parasitological responses were monitored until Day 14. Bradycardia was observed in 16 of 20 amodiaquine-treated patients on Day 2, which corresponds to the time when maximal cumulative plasma concentration is reached, and in 12 of 20 patients on Day 7. A bradycardic effect lasting several days was not noted in patients treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Significantly prolonged P, PQ, QRS, and QTc intervals were recorded on Day 2 after both 30 and 35 mg of amodiaquine base per kilogram of body weight had been administered, but these intervals were not correlated with the plasma monodesethylamodiaquine (main human active metabolite of amodiaquine) level. Electrocardiographic changes after therapy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine were minor and transient. All patients had fever and parasite clearance on or before Day 3 and remained free of fever and parasites until Day 14. None of the patients complained of cardiovascular adverse effects during the follow-up. These results suggest the absence of significant cardiac effects of amodiaquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine at usual therapeutic doses, but they should draw the attention of clinicians treating malaria-infected patients who have taken other antimalarial drugs with cardiovascular side effects or those who are under treatment with cardiovascular drugs.