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Artemisinin (ART) is a sesquiterpene lactone and a popular malaria drug used in many parts of the world. Artesunate (ARTS) is a semi-synthetic derivative of ART with improved pharmacokinetic properties. However, the half-life of ARTS is less than an hour in vivo. The analysis of this drug in vitro in different solvent systems using LC-MS/TOF showed a solvent-driven breakdown. ARTS breakdown formed several derivatives, including dihydroartemisinin (DHA), artemether (ARTM) and DHA-dimer among others, at different rates in different solvent composition systems. The change in temperature from room temperature to physiological temperature (37 °C) was found to enhance the rate of the ARTS breakdown. In methanol, ARTS mainly formed ARTM with a chromatographic peak decrease of about 3.13%, while methanol and water (90:10) v/v mainly gave rise to DHA and ARTM with about an 80% chromatographic peak decrease. On the other hand, ARTS in methanol and ammonium acetate (85:15) v/v formed DHA, ARTM, DHA-dimer and other reaction peaks with about a 97% peak decrease and the formation of an orange solution pointing to a molecular re-arrangement reaction. These results have an important bearing on research on the analysis of artemisinin drugs conducted on these common solvents.


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Publication of this article was supported by the 2022-23 Rowan University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.