Effectiveness of Nifurtimox in the Treatment of Chagas Disease: a Long-Term Retrospective Cohort Study in Children and Adults

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2022 May 17;66(5):e0202121. doi: 10.1128/aac.02021-21. Epub 2022 Apr 13.


Chagas disease (ChD), caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, has a global prevalence due to patient migration. However, despite its worldwide distribution, long-term follow-up efficacy studies with nifurtimox (NF) are scarce and have been conducted with only small numbers of patients. A retrospective study of a large cohort of ChD treated children and adults with NF. Treatment response was evaluated by clinical, parasitological, and serological after-treatment evaluation. A total of 289 patients were enrolled, of which 199 were children and 90 adults. At diagnosis, 89.6% of patients were asymptomatic. Overall, all symptomatic patients showed clinical improvement. At baseline, parasitemia was positive in 130 of 260 (50%) patients. All but one adult patient had cleared their parasitemia by the end of treatment. That patient was considered a treatment failure. Median follow-up time for children was 37.7 months, with an interquartile range of (IQR25-75 12.2 to 85.3), and for adults was 14.2 months (IQR25-75, 1.9 to 33.8). After treatment, a decrease of T. cruzi antibodies and seroconversion were observed in 34.6% of patients. The seroconversion profile showed that, the younger the patient, the higher the rate of seroconversion (log rank test; P value, <0.01). At least 20% seroreduction at 1 year follow-up was observed in 33.2% of patients. Nifurtimox was highly effective for ChD treatment. Patients had excellent treatment responses with fully resolved symptoms related to acute T. cruzi infection. Clearance of parasitemia and a decrease in T. cruzi antibodies were observed as markers of treatment response. This study reinforces the importance of treating patients during childhood since the treatment response was more marked in younger subjects. (This protocol was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration number NCT04274101).

Keywords: Trypanosoma cruzi; adults; children; efficacy; follow-up; nifurtimox; treatment; treatment effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Chagas Disease* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Nifurtimox / therapeutic use
  • Nitroimidazoles* / therapeutic use
  • Parasitemia / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trypanocidal Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Trypanosoma cruzi*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Nitroimidazoles
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • Nifurtimox

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04274101