Population Pharmacokinetics of Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 Patients: Implications for Dose Optimization

Pauline Thémans, Leila Belkhir, Nicolas Dauby, Jean Cyr Yombi, Julien De Greef, Kevin Alexandre Delongie, Martin Vandeputte, Rakan Nasreddine, Xavier Wittebole, Francoise Wuillaume, Cécile Lescrainier, Veerle Verlinden, Sophie Kiridis, Jean Michel Dogné, Jamila Hamdani, Pierre Wallemacq, Flora Musuamba Tshinanu

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Abstract

Background and Objective: In the absence of characterization on pharmacokinetics and reference concentrations for hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients, the dose and treatment duration for hydrochloroquine are currently empirical, mainly based on in vitro data, and may vary across national guidelines and clinical study protocols. The aim of this paper is to describe the pharmacokinetics of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients, considered to be a key step toward its dosing optimization. Methods: We have developed a population pharmacokinetic model for hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients using prospectively collected pharmacokinetic data from patients either enrolled in a clinical trial or treated with hydroxychloroquine as part of standard of care in two tertiary Belgian hospitals. Results: The final population pharmacokinetic model was a one-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination. The estimated parameter values were 9.3/h, 860.8 L, and 15.7 L/h for the absorption rate constant, the central compartment volume, and the clearance, respectively. The bioavailability factor was fixed to 0.74 based on previously published models. Model validations by bootstraps, prediction corrected visual predictive checks, and normalized prediction distribution errors gave satisfactory results. Simulations were performed to compare the exposure obtained with alternative dosing regimens. Conclusion: The developed models provide useful insight for the dosing optimization of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients. The present results should be used in conjunction with exposure-efficacy and exposure-safety data to inform optimal dosing of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-713
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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