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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Apr;17(2):183-8.

Liposomal amphotericin B in the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in immunocompetent patients.

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  • 1Pediatric Emergency Unit, CHU Nord, Chemin des Bourrelly, 13915 Marseille Cedex 20, France.


The leishmaniases are protozoan diseases caused by Leishmania parasites. The first-line treatment of its visceral forms is pentavalent antimony (meglumine antimoniate or sodium stibogluconate), but toxicity is frequent with this drug. Moreover antimony unresponsiveness is increasing in Leishmania infantum and L. donovani foci, both in immunocompetent and in immunosuppressed patients. Amphotericin B is a polyene macrolide antibiotic that binds to sterols in cell membranes. It is the most active antileishmanial agent in use. Its infusion-related and renal toxicity may be reduced by lipid-based delivery. Liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome); Gilead Science, Paris, France) seems to be less toxic than other amphotericin B lipid formulations (Amphocil); Liposome Technology Inc., Menlo Park, CA, USA, Amphotec); Ben Venue Laboratories Inc., Bedford, OH, USA). Optimal drug regimens of AmBisome) vary from one geographical area to another. In the Mediterranean Basin, a total dose of 18 mg/kg (3 mg/kg on days 1-5 and 3 mg/kg on day 10) could be used as first-line treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in immunocompetent patients. In immunocompromised patients, especially those co-infected with HIV, relapses are frequent with AmBisome), as with other drugs.

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