Characteristics and Adverse Events of Patients for Whom Nifurtimox Was Released Through CDC-Sponsored Investigational New Drug Program for Treatment of Chagas Disease - United States, 2001-2021

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Mar 11;71(10):371-374. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7110a2.


Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas disease is endemic in rural areas of Latin America, but T. cruzi, triatomine vectors, infected mammalian reservoir hosts, and rare cases of autochthonous vector borne transmission have been reported in the United States (1). Possible modes of transmission include the following: vector borne via skin or mucosal contact with feces of infected triatomine bugs, congenital, blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or laboratory accident. Chagas disease can be treated with benznidazole (commercially available since May 14, 2018) or nifurtimox (2). Before January 25, 2021, nifurtimox (Lampit) had been exclusively available through CDC under an Institutional Review Board-approved Investigational New Drug (IND) treatment protocol, at which time it became reasonably accessible to health care providers outside of the program. This report summarizes CDC Drug Service reports for selected characteristics of and adverse events reported by 336 patients for whom nifurtimox was requested under the CDC IND program during January 1, 2001-January 25, 2021. Of the 336 patients, 34.2% resided in California. Median age of patients was 37 years (range = 1-78 years). Most patients were aged ≥18 (91.8%; 305 of 332) and Hispanic (93.2%; 290 of 311). Among the patients with available information, 91.4% (222 of 243) reported an adverse event. Among those with information about the severity of their adverse events, 20.5% reported a severe event. On August 7, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced approval of a nifurtimox product, Lampit (Bayer), for treatment of Chagas disease in patients aged <18 years weighing ≥5.5 lbs (≥2.5 kg). Lampit became commercially available during October 2020. Physicians should take frequency of adverse events into consideration when prescribing nifurtimox and counseling patients.

Publication types

  • Technical Report

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Drugs, Investigational / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nifurtimox / adverse effects
  • Nifurtimox / therapeutic use*
  • Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Trypanocidal Agents / adverse effects
  • Trypanocidal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • Nifurtimox