Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

To investigate the toxic potential of rapid intravenous quinine administration in severe malaria, the pharmacokinetic properties of low-dose quinine dihydrochloride injection (4 mg/kg body weight, equivalent to 3.3 mg base/kg) followed one hour later by infusion of 16 mg/kg over 3 h were studied in 7 patients with cerebral malaria. Plasma quinine concentrations closely followed a bi-exponential decline. Both the volumes of the central compartment (mean +/- SD: 0.17 +/- 0.10 litre/kg) and total volumes of distribution (0.74 +/- 0.30 litre/kg) were significantly smaller than those previously reported for healthy subjects. Based on the derived pharmacokinetic parameters, predicted plasma quinine concentrations following intravenous injection of the standard therapeutic dose (10 mg salt/kg) over 10-20 min are potentially toxic in severe malaria. Further reductions in administration time would produce disproportionately higher plasma quinine concentrations, especially as the distribution half-time (2.3 +/- 3.2 min) is approached. A theoretical regimen designed to achieve therapeutic, non-toxic plasma quinine concentrations promptly would be 7.0 mg quinine dihydrochloride/kg over 30 min. A subsequent maintenance infusion of 10 mg/kg over 4 h would allow for drug elimination and acute changes in pharmacokinetic parameters due to resuscitation and rehydration.


Journal article


Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg

Publication Date





542 - 547


Adolescent, Adult, Blood Pressure, Brain Diseases, Electrocardiography, Female, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Malaria, Male, Middle Aged, Quinine, Time Factors