Clarithromycin, a cytochrome P 450 inhibitor, can reverse mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis-infected Swiss mice

Renu Tripathi, Swaroop Kumar Pandey, Amber Rizvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


During the last 2 decades there have been numerous reports of the emergence of mefloquine resistance in Southeast Asia and nearly 50% resistance is reported in Thailand. A World Health Organization report (2001) considers mefloquine as an important component of ACT (artesunate+mefloquine) which is the first line of treatment for the control of uncomplicated/multi-drug resistant (MDR) Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In view of the emergence of resistance towards this drug, it is proposed to develop new drug combinations to prolong the protective life of this drug. Prior studies have suggested that mefloquine resistance can be overcome by a variety of agents such as ketoconazole, cyproheptadine, penfluridol, Icajine and NP30. The present investigation reports that clarithromycin (CLTR), a new macrolide, being a potent inhibitor of Cyt. P450 3A4, can exert significant resistance reversal action against mefloquine resistance of plasmodia. Experiments were carried out to find out the curative dose of CLTR against multi-drug resistant P. yoelii nigeriensis. Mefloquine (MFQ) and clarithromycin (CLTR) combinations have been used for the treatment of this MDR parasite. Different dose combinations of these two drugs were given to the infected mice on day 0 (prophylactic) and day 1 with established infection (therapeutic) to see the combined effect of these combinations against the MDR malaria infection. With a dose of 32 mg/kg MFQ and 225 mg/kg CLTR, 100% cure was observed, while in single drug groups, treated with MFQ or CLTR, the cure was zero and 40% respectively. Therapeutically, MFQ and CLTR combinations 32+300 mg/kg doses cleared the established parasitaemia on day 10. Single treatment with MFQ or CLTR showed considerable suppression of parasitaemia on day 14 but neither was curative. Follow-up of therapeutically treated mice showed enhanced anti-malarial action as reflected by their 100% clearance of parasitaemia. The present study reveals that CLTR is a useful antibiotic to be used as companion drug with mefloquine in order to overcome mefloquine resistance in plasmodia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1076
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis
  • clarithromycin
  • drug resistance
  • malaria
  • mefloquine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases


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