Clofazimine pharmacokinetics in patients with TB: Dosing implications

Mahmoud Tareq Abdelwahab, Sean Wasserman, James C.M. Brust, Neel R. Gandhi, Graeme Meintjes, Daniel Everitt, Andreas Diacon, Rodney Dawson, Lubbe Wiesner, Elin M. Svensson, Gary Maartens, Paolo Denti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Clofazimine is in widespread use as a key component of drug-resistant TB regimens, but the recommended dose is not evidence based. Pharmacokinetic data from relevant patient populations are needed to inform dose optimization. Objectives: To determine clofazimine exposure, evaluate covariate effects on variability, and simulate exposures for different dosing strategies in South African TB patients. Patients and methods: Clinical and pharmacokinetic data were obtained from participants with pulmonary TB enrolled in two studies with intensive and sparse sampling for up to 6 months. Plasma concentrations were measured by LC-MS/MS and interpreted with non-linear mixed-effects modelling. Body size descriptors and other potential covariates were tested on pharmacokinetic parameters. We simulated different dosing regimens to safely shorten time to average daily concentration above a putative target concentration of 0.25 mg/L. Results: We analysed 1570 clofazimine concentrations from 139 participants; 79 (57%) had drug-resistant TB and 54 (39%) were HIV infected. Clofazimine pharmacokinetics were well characterized by a three-compartment model. Clearance was 11.5 L/h and peripheral volume 10 500 L for a typical participant. Lower plasma exposures were observed in women during the first few months of treatment, explained by higher body fat fraction. Model-based simulations estimated that a loading dose of 200 mg daily for 2 weeks would achieve average daily concentrations above a target efficacy concentration 37 days earlier in a typical TB participant. Conclusions: Clofazimine was widely distributed with a long elimination half-life. Disposition was strongly influenced by body fat content, with potential dosing implications for women with TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3269-3277
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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