High risk of early sub-therapeutic penicillin concentrations after intramuscular benzathine penicillin g injections in ethiopian children and adults with rheumatic heart disease
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Introduction: Intramuscular benzathine penicillin G (BPG) injections are a cornerstone of secondary prophylaxis to prevent acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Uncer-tainties regarding inter-ethnic and preparation variability, and target exposure profiles of BPG injection are key knowledge gaps for RHD control.
Methods: To evaluate BPG pharmacokinetics (PK) in patients receiving 4-weekly doses in Ethiopia, we conducted a prospective cohort study of ARF/RHD patients attending cardiology outpa-tient clinics. Serum samples were collected weekly for one month after injection and assayed with a liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy assay. Concentration-time data-sets for BPG were analyzed by nonlinear mixed effects modelling using NONMEM.
Results: A total of 190 penicillin concentration samples from 74 patients were included in the final PK model. The median age, weight, BMI was 21 years, 47 kg and 18 kg/m2, respectively. When compared with estimates derived from Indigenous Australian patients, the estimate for median (95% confidence interval) volume of distribution (V/F) was lower (54.8 [43.9–66.3] l.70kg-1) whilst the absorption half-life (t1/2-abs2) was longer (12.0 [8.75–17.7] days). The median (IQR) percentage of time where the concentrations remained above 20 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL within the 28-day treatment cycle was 42.5% (27.5–60) and 73% (58.5–99), respectively.
Conclusions: The majority of Ethiopian patients receiving BPG as secondary prophylaxis to prevent RHD do not attain target concentrations for more than two weeks during each 4-weekly injection cycle, highlighting the limitations of current BPG strategies. Between-population variation, together with PK differences between different preparations may be important consider-ations for ARF/RHD control programs.
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