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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 53-57

Management of visceral leishmaniasis: Indian perspective

Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi - 221 005, India

Correspondence Address:
S Sundar
Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi - 221 005
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 16519257

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Diagnosis and treatment of Indian visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is extremely unsatisfactory. For diagnosis, demonstration of parasites in splenic/marrow smears remains the gold standard, though k39 rapid strip test is a useful method in regions where access to parasite demonstration is difficult. pentavalent antimony remains the mainstay for the treatment of all forms of leishmaniasis globally; however, development of large-scale antimony resistance in Bihar has necessitated search for alternative drugs. Amphotericin B is the most effective, though toxic, drug for patients with refractory VL. Lipid formulations of amphotericin B, though safe and effective, are too expensive to be useful for poor patients of this region. These hold advantage as large quantity of the drug can safely be given over a short period of time, thus leading to a decrease in the hospital stay to a few days instead of several weeks. Oral miltefosine, an alkyl phospholipid, has recently been approved and marketed in India for the treatment of VL. Miltefosine cures 94% patients with VL if given in a daily dose of 50-100 mg for 28 days. Most common adverse events are mild vomiting and diarrhea. Paromomycin, an amino glycoside, is undergoing a pivotal phase-III clinical trial, and is likely to be approved and available to patients with VL at an affordable cost. To protect the already scarce inventory of antileishmanial drugs, it is time that combination chemotherapy is introduced for the treatment of VL in India.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow