Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Trop. 2011 May;118(2):87-96. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Systematic review of the adverse effects of cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment in the New World.

Author information

Instituto de Pesquisa Clínica Evandro Chagas, (IPEC)/Fiocruz, Brazil.


Pentavalent antimonials are first-line drugs for the treatment of the cutaneous form of American tegumentary leishmaniasis. Second-line drugs include amphotericin B and pentamidine. Although these drugs have been used for decades, there are no systematic reviews about their safety. The objective of this review was to identify and classify the main adverse effects associated with these drugs and to estimate the frequency of these effects, whenever possible. Intervention studies, case series and case reports containing information regarding clinical, laboratory or electrocardiographic adverse effects of drugs used for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis were systematically retrieved from 10 databases searched between August 13, 2008 and March 31, 2009. The 65 studies included in this review had treated a total of 4359 patients from 12 countries infected with eight different Leishmania species. Despite the small number of drugs used in these studies, a wide variability in the therapeutic regimens was observed. As a consequence, the adverse effects of pentavalent antimonials and pentamidine needed to be classified jointly according to system, irrespective of formulation, daily dose, duration of treatment, and route of administration. The frequencies of adverse effects were calculated based on the data of 32 articles involving 1866 patients. The most frequently reported clinical adverse effects of pentavalent antimonials and pentamidine were musculoskeletal pain, gastrointestinal disturbances, and mild to moderate headache. Electrocardiographic QTc interval prolongation and a mild to moderate increase in liver and pancreatic enzymes were additional adverse effects of pentavalent antimonials. Patients treated with liposomal amphotericin B had mild dyspnea and erythema. The adverse effects associated with miltefosine were vomiting, nausea, kinetosis, headache, diarrhea, and a mild to moderate increase in aminotransferases and creatinine. Although closer surveillance is needed for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis, antileishmanial drugs are basically safe and severe side effects requiring the discontinuation of treatment are relatively uncommon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center