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A controlled, randomized nonblinded clinical trial to assess the efficacy of amphotericin B deoxycholate as compared to pentamidine for the treatment of antimony unresponsive visceral leishmaniasis cases in Bihar, India

Authors Das V, Siddiqui N, Pandey K, Singh V, Topno R, Singh D, Verma R, Ranjan A, Sinha P, Das P

Published 16 December 2008 Volume 2009:5 Pages 117—124


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Vidya Nand Rabi Das1, Niyamat Ali Siddiqui2, Krishna Pandey3, Vijay Pratap Singh2, Roshan K Topno4, Dharmendra Singh5, Rakesh Bihari Verma2, Alok Ranjan2, Prabhat Kumar Sinha1, Pradeep Das6

1Department of Clinical Medicine, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Council of Medical Research, Patna, Bihar, India; 2Department of Biostatistics; 3Department of Clinical Medicine; 4Department of Epidemiology; 5Department of Molecular Biology; 6Director and Institutional Head, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Council of Medical Research, Patna, Bihar, India

Background: There is significant variation in Amphotericin B (AMB) efficacy and relapses in antimony unresponsive visceral leishmaniasis (VL) cases over a period of time (10–15 years). Keeping in mind the above mentioned view this study was undertaken with an objective to assess the magnitude of cure and relapse rates of AMB in the treatment of antimony unresponsive VL cases.

Methods: In a controlled, randomized nonblinded clinical trial, we evaluated the cure and relapse rate of Amphotericin B deoxycholate as compared to pentamidine. A total of 82 sodium stibogluconate (SSG) unresponsive and parasitologically confirmed VL cases were included in this study and randomized into two groups, test (Amphotericin B) and control (Pentamidine). Both the groups were treated with recommended dosages (as per World Health Organization guidelines) of respective medicines. All the patients were followed up on 1st, 2nd, and 6th month after end of treatment.

Results: Apparent cure rate in the Amphotericin B group was found to be 95% (39/41) compared with 83% (34/41) in the Pentamidine group, which shows significant statistical difference (p = 0.05). The ultimate cure rate was found 92% (38/41) in the Amphotericin B group compared to 73% (30/41) in the Pentamidine group, which shows a significant statistical difference (Yates corrected chi-square = 4.42, p = 0.04). Similarly, significant statistical difference was observed in the relapse rate of the Amphotericin group compared to the Pentamidine group (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: AMB may still be the drug of choice in the management of resistant VL cases in Bihar, India. This is due to its consistent apparent cure rate (95%), low relapse rate (2.5%), and cost effectiveness compared with other available antileishmanial drugs. It is a safe drug even in case of pregnancy. Efforts should be taken to form a future strategy so that this drug and coming newer drugs do not meet a similar fate as has happened to SSG and pentamidine over a span of 10–15 years.

Keywords: sodium stibogluconate, apparent cure rate, ultimate cure rate, relapse rate, Amphotericin B deoxycholate

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