Successful treatment of drug-resistant cutaneous leishmaniasis in humans by use of imiquimod, an immunomodulator

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Dec 1;33(11):1847-51. doi: 10.1086/324161. Epub 2001 Oct 23.


Treatment failures for leishmaniasis with pentavalent antimonials, including meglumine antimonate, are increasingly common in many endemic areas. Imiquimod (Aldara; 3M Pharmaceuticals) is a novel immune response-activating compound, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, that is currently used to treat cervical warts and has been shown to activate macrophage killing of Leishmania species. Therefore, an open-label, prospective study was conducted of combined imiquimod plus meglumine antimonate therapy in 12 patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis who had previously not responded to meglumine antimonate therapy. All of the patients responded well to this combination therapy, and 90% were found to be cured at the 6-month follow-up period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Infant
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / pathology
  • Male
  • Meglumine / therapeutic use*
  • Meglumine Antimoniate
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aminoquinolines
  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Meglumine
  • Meglumine Antimoniate
  • Imiquimod