Validation and Clinical Evaluation of a Novel Method To Measure Miltefosine in Leishmaniasis Patients Using Dried Blood Spot Sample Collection

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Mar 25;60(4):2081-9. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02976-15. Print 2016 Apr.


To facilitate future pharmacokinetic studies of combination treatments against leishmaniasis in remote regions in which the disease is endemic, a simple cheap sampling method is required for miltefosine quantification. The aims of this study were to validate a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method to quantify miltefosine in dried blood spot (DBS) samples and to validate its use with Ethiopian patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Since hematocrit (Ht) levels are typically severely decreased in VL patients, returning to normal during treatment, the method was evaluated over a range of clinically relevant Ht values. Miltefosine was extracted from DBS samples using a simple method of pretreatment with methanol, resulting in >97% recovery. The method was validated over a calibration range of 10 to 2,000 ng/ml, and accuracy and precision were within ±11.2% and ≤7.0% (≤19.1% at the lower limit of quantification), respectively. The method was accurate and precise for blood spot volumes between 10 and 30 μl and for Ht levels of 20 to 35%, although a linear effect of Ht levels on miltefosine quantification was observed in the bioanalytical validation. DBS samples were stable for at least 162 days at 37°C. Clinical validation of the method using paired DBS and plasma samples from 16 VL patients showed a median observed DBS/plasma miltefosine concentration ratio of 0.99, with good correlation (Pearson'sr= 0.946). Correcting for patient-specific Ht levels did not further improve the concordance between the sampling methods. This successfully validated method to quantify miltefosine in DBS samples was demonstrated to be a valid and practical alternative to venous blood sampling that can be applied in future miltefosine pharmacokinetic studies with leishmaniasis patients, without Ht correction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antiprotozoal Agents / blood*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Coinfection
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / standards*
  • Drug Stability
  • Ethiopia
  • HIV / physiology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Leishmania donovani / drug effects
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / blood
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / drug therapy*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / parasitology
  • Limit of Detection
  • Liquid Phase Microextraction / methods
  • Phosphorylcholine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phosphorylcholine / blood
  • Phosphorylcholine / therapeutic use
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • miltefosine

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.