Effect of rifampin on plasma concentrations of mefloquine in healthy volunteers.J Pharm Pharmacol. 2000 Oct; 52(10):1265-9.JP
Mefloquine is a 4-quinolinemethanol compound structurally related to quinine. Quinine is mainly metabolized by the cytochrome P450 3A4 isozyme (CYP3A4), whereas rifampin, a potent inducer of CYP3A4, is known to markedly decrease plasma quinine concentration. Our aim was to study the effect of rifampin on the pharmacokinetics of mefloquine, and explore a possible role of CYP3A4 on mefloquine metabolism. In an open, two-phase crossover study, seven healthy Thai male volunteers received a single oral dose of 500 mg mefloquine alone, or 500 mg mefloquine plus a long-term administration of 600 mg rifampin. Blood samples were collected at specific time points over a 56-day period. Plasma mefloquine and its carboxylic acid metabolite were measured by HPLC for pharmacokinetic analysis. The results indicate that rifampin significantly decreased the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC0 - infinity) of mefloquine by 68% (P < 0.01), maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) by 19% (P < 0.001), and elimination half-life (t1/2) by 63% (P < 0.01), whereas the time to reach Cmax (t(max)) of mefloquine was unaffected. The apparent oral clearance (CL) of mefloquine was significantly increased by 281% (P < 0.01). After administration of rifampin, the Cmax of the carboxylic acid metabolite of mefloquine was significantly increased by 47% (P < 0.05), whereas the t1/2 was significantly decreased by 39% (P < 0.01), and t(max) by 76% (P < 0.01). The AUC0 - infinity and CL of the mefloquine metabolite were increased by 30% and 25%, respectively, but were not significantly different from the control phase. The results indicate that rifampin reduces the plasma concentration of a single oral dose of 500 mg mefloquine by increasing metabolism of mefloquine in the liver and gut wall. The CYP3A4 isozyme most likely plays an important role in the enhanced metabolism of mefloquine. Simultaneous use of rifampin and mefloquine should be avoided to optimize the therapeutic efficacy of mefloquine and prevent the risk of Plasmodium falciparum resistance in malarial treatment.