Recent understanding in the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis

J Postgrad Med. 2003 Jan-Mar;49(1):61-8. doi: 10.4103/0022-3859.926.

Abstract

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a severe disease associated with infection of the reticuloendothelial system by Leishmania species. The infection is acquired through sandfly bites. Recent large scale epidemics of VL in east Africa and India and the emergence of a HIV epidemic make VL a priority for the World Health Organization. Pentavalent antimonials have been cornerstone of treatment for the last six decades. The appearance of antimonial-resistance and the development of lipid formulations of amphotericin B have changed the pattern of VL treatment. Within the past five years, miltefosine has been demonstrated as the first effective and safe oral treatment against VL. The price of miltefosine is yet to be determined. However, miltefosine will certainly be cheaper than lipid formulations of amphotericin B, which are beyond the financial capacity of the poor countries. Because it can be administered orally, miltefosine is suited for the treatment of large number of patients who get affected during epidemics, particularly in regions where the parasites are resistant to the currently used agents. Here, we recommend different treatment schedules according to the resistance pattern and the region-specific socio-economical and cultural factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / parasitology
  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / economics
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / economics
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / economics
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use
  • Leishmania / drug effects*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / complications
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / drug therapy*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / epidemiology

Substances

  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-gamma