Etiological drug treatment of human infection by Trypanosoma cruzi.


Forty-nine American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease) patients, with xenodiagnosis proven parasitemia were treated by the authors. Forty-one of these patients were given benznidazole, at dosages ranging from 5mg/kg/day to 8mg/kg/day, during a pre-established period of 60 days. In this group, 17 patients had an undetermined form of the disease, whereas 22 had cardiologic disease and 4 had digestive disease (two patients had a mixed form of the disease). Side effects were frequent, and led to the discontinuation of treatment in 17 patients. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 20 years (mean follow-up period of 6 yrs. 7 mo). 26 (63.4%) of the patients became parasitemia-negative. The other eight patients were treated with nifurtimox, during 120 days, following a variable dose regime of 5mg/kg/day (initial dose) to 17 mg/kg/day (final dose). Six of them had severe side effects, and only one patient remained parasitemia-negative throughout the observation period (ranging from 1 to 18 years). Benznidazole proved to be better tolerated and more effective in the management of parasitemia when compared to nifurtimox, although more effective and less toxic drugs are still desirable.


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