Current and developing therapeutic agents in the treatment of Chagas disease
University of Chile, Faculty of Medicine, Santiago, Chile
Abstract: Chagas disease must be treated in all its stages: acute, indeterminate, chronic, and initial and middle determinant chronic, due to the fact that DNA of the parasite can be demonstrated by PCR in chronic cases, where optical microscopy does not detect parasites. Nifurtimox (NF) and benznidazole (BNZ) are the drugs accepted to treat humans based upon ethical considerations and efficiency. However, both the drugs produce secondary effects in 30% of the cases, and the treatment must be given for at least 30–60 days. Other useful drugs are itraconazole and posaconazole. The latter may be the drug to treat Chagas disease in the future when all the investigations related to it are finished. At present, there is no criterion of cure for chronic cases since in the majority, the serology remains positive, although it may decrease. In acute cases, 70% cure with NF and 75% with BNZ is achieved. In congenital cases, 100% cure is obtained if the treatment is performed during the first year of life. In chronic acquired cases, 20% cure and 50% improvement of the electrocardiographic changes are obtained with itraconazole.
Keywords: Chagas disease, treatment, nifurtimox, benznidazole, allopurinol, itraconazole, posaconazole
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