Chloroquine disposition in hypersensitive and non-hypersensitive subjects and its significance in chloroquine-induced pruritus

  • E. E. Essien
  • E. I. Ette
  • W. O. A. Thomas
  • E. A. Brown-Awala
Original Papers


Twenty-one healthy Nigerian volunteers distributed into four groups participated in a study to determine the significance of chloroquine disposition in chloroquine-induced pruritus. It involved the administration of chloroquine with or without promethazine pre-adrninistration to the subjects. Group I consisted of 8 chloroquine non-hypersensitive subjects receiving 2 tablets of chloroquine sulphate (300 mg base); Group n consisted of 5 chloroquine non-hypersensitive subjects receiving 2 tablets of chloroquine sulphate 30 minutes after 25 mg promethazine tablet pre-administration; Group HI consisted of 5 chloroquine hypersensitive subjects treated as in Group H; Group IV consisted of 3 hypersensitive subjects treated as in Group I. Blood (5 ml) and urine samples were collected periodically for up to 6 days post-dose. The samples were analysed for chloroquine and some of its oxidation metabolites by a specific HPLC method. Probit plots of cumulative drug/metabolite ratios were done to determine if there is polymorphism in chloroquine metabolism.

There was bimodality only in the distribution of chloroquine/monodesethylchloroquine ratios, suggesting polymorphism in the metabolic oxidation of chloroquine in these subjects. Higher levels of monodesethylchloroquine were obtained in Group IV subjects when compared with any of the other groups. The oral clearance rate, elimination half-life, and volume distribution at steady state of chloroquine in the study groups were not significantly different (P > 0.05). In the absence of promethazine there appears to be an extensive metabolism of chloroquine in hypersensitive individuals to produce monodesethylchloroquine which probably determines the degree of pruritus experienced by an individual.


Chloroquine man pruritus hypersensitive non-hypersensitive 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. E. Essien
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. I. Ette
  • W. O. A. Thomas
  • E. A. Brown-Awala
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical ChemistryCollege of Medicine of the University of LagosLagosNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biopharmacy, School of PharmacyCollege of Medicine of the University of LagosLagosNigeria

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