Objectives: To evaluate in a retrospective analysis the efficacy and safety of a 6 day course of liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) in infantile cases of Mediterranean visceral leishmaniasis (VL) diagnosed over a 10 year period in Italy.
Patients and methods: Patients included were diagnosed as having VL consecutively admitted from December 1992 to December 2001 at four main referral children's hospitals in Italy and treated with six intravenous doses of 3 mg/kg L-AmB given on days 1-5 and 10 (a total dose of 18 mg/kg). Demographic data, nutritional status, underlying diseases, clinical and laboratory findings, and therapy outcome were considered.
Results: A total of 164 HIV-negative children (median age 1.6 years; range 4 months to 14 years) were enrolled. All patients were initially cured by the given treatment, and did not present adverse events related to drug infusion. Seven patients (4.3%) had a clinical and parasitological relapse 3-15 months after therapy. All relapses were successfully retreated with 3 mg/kg L-AmB for 10 consecutive days (a total dose of 30 mg/kg).
Conclusions: This study highlights the efficacy (>95%) and safety of the six dose L-AmB regimen and validates it as a first-line treatment for Mediterranean VL in children.