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N Engl J Med. 2010 Feb 11;362(6):504-12. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0903627.

Single-dose liposomal amphotericin B for visceral leishmaniasis in India.

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  • 1Kala-Azar Medical Research Center, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.



Some 50% of patients with visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) worldwide live in the Indian state of Bihar. Liposomal amphotericin B is an effective treatment when administered in short courses. We wanted to determine whether the efficacy of a single infusion of liposomal amphotericin B was inferior to conventional parenteral therapy, consisting of 15 alternate-day infusions of amphotericin B deoxycholate.


In this open-label study, we randomly assigned 412 patients in a 3:1 ratio to receive either liposomal amphotericin B (liposomal-therapy group) or amphotericin B deoxycholate (conventional-therapy group). Liposomal amphotericin B (at a dose of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight) was given once, and patients were discharged home 24 hours later. Amphotericin B deoxycholate, which was administered in 15 infusions of 1 mg per kilogram, was given every other day during a 29-day hospitalization. We determined the cure rate 6 months after treatment.


A total of 410 patients--304 of 304 patients (100%) in the liposomal-therapy group and 106 of 108 patients (98%) in the conventional-therapy group--had apparent cure responses at day 30. Cure rates at 6 months were similar in the two groups: 95.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.4 to 97.9) in the liposomal-therapy group and 96.3% (95% CI, 92.6 to 99.9) in the conventional-therapy group. Adverse events in the liposomal-therapy group were infusion-related fever or rigors (in 40%) and increased anemia or thrombocytopenia (in 2%); such events in the conventional-therapy group were fever or rigors (in 64%), increased anemia (in 19%), and hypokalemia (in 2%). Nephrotoxicity or hepatotoxicity developed in no more than 1% of patients in each group.


A single infusion of liposomal amphotericin B was not inferior to and was less expensive than conventional therapy with amphotericin B deoxycholate. ( number, NCT00628719.)

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