Decreased sensitivity to meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime) of Leishmania infantum isolated from dogs after several courses of drug treatment

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1992 Dec;86(6):613-20. doi: 10.1080/00034983.1992.11812717.


Although unresponsiveness to antimonial drugs in human leishmaniasis appears to be increasing, resistance to antimony in Leishmania is not well documented. Treatment of leishmaniasis in dogs, the domestic reservoir of L. infantum, with meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime) is a common practice in many Mediterranean countries. The dogs, however, remain highly infective to the phlebotomine vectors, even after several courses of treatment. A study was therefore carried out to test the comparative susceptibility to meglumine antimoniate of L. infantum stocks isolated from four naturally-infected dogs, before (BT) and after treatment (AT) with three to six courses of the drug, and used to infect Balb/c mice. Significant differences in suppression between the BT and AT stocks were observed in the infected mice when they were given the drug at a rate of 0.01-10 mg kg-1 day-1 for five days. Each AT stock was between eight and 41 times more resistant to meglumine antimoniate than the BT stock from the same dog, in terms of the ratios of the AT ED50 values to the corresponding BT values, which were calculated as indices of resistance. This result underlines the futility and danger of repeated antimonial treatments of dogs with signs of leishmaniasis, as these may produce a permanent reservoir of parasites unsusceptible to the drugs in human clinical use.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology
  • Dogs
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Leishmania donovani / drug effects*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / drug therapy
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / parasitology
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Meglumine / pharmacology
  • Meglumine / therapeutic use*
  • Meglumine Antimoniate
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacology
  • Organometallic Compounds / therapeutic use*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Meglumine
  • Meglumine Antimoniate