Evaluation of the effects on the QT-interval of 4 artemisinin-based combination therapies with a correction-free and heart rate-free method

Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 29;9(1):883. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37113-5.


Several antimalarial drugs are known to prolong ventricular repolarization as evidenced by QT/QTc interval prolongation. This can lead to Torsades de Pointes, a potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmia. Whether this is the case with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) remains uncertain. Assessment of the extent of QTc prolongation with antimalarials is hampered by important variations of heart rate during malaria crises and previous studies have reported highly variable values of QTc prolongations with ACTs. We assessed QTc prolongation with four ACTs, using high quality ECG recording and measurement techniques, during the first episode of malaria in 2,091 African patients enrolled in the WANECAM study which also monitored clinical safety. Using an original and robust method of QTc assessment, independent from heart rate changes and from the method of QT correction, we were able to accurately assess the extent of mean maximum QTc prolongation with the four ACTs tested. There was no evidence of proarrhythmia with any treatment during the study although dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine significantly prolonged QTc. The extent of prolongation of ventricular repolarization can be accurately assessed in studies where heart rate changes impede QTc assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amodiaquine
  • Antimalarials / adverse effects*
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Artemether
  • Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination
  • Artemisinins / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanolamines / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fluorenes / therapeutic use
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Quinolines
  • Young Adult


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemether, Lumefantrine Drug Combination
  • Artemisinins
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanolamines
  • Fluorenes
  • Quinolines
  • amodiaquine, artesunate drug combination
  • Amodiaquine
  • artenimol
  • artemisinin
  • piperaquine
  • Artemether