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Pathog Glob Health. 2013 Jun;107(4):162-9. doi: 10.1179/2047773213Y.0000000094.

Antibiotics for human toxoplasmosis: a systematic review of randomized trials.

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Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


The efficacy of different treatment regimens in clinical syndromes of toxoplasmosis were assessed by conducting a systematic review of published randomized clinical trials through extensive searches in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and SCOPUS with no date limits, as well as manual review of journals. Outcome measures varied depending on the clinical entity of toxoplasmosis. Risk of bias was evaluated and quality of evidence was graded. Fourteen randomized trials were included of which one was a non-comparative study. One well-designed trial showed that trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole was more effective than placebo for clinical recovery of toxoplasmic lymphadenopathy in immunocompetent hosts. For toxoplasmic encephalopathy, efficacy of pyrimethamine+sulphadiazine and trimethoprim+sulphamethoxazole were similar, whereas pyrimethamine+sulphadiazine versus pyrimathamine+clindamycin showed no difference, irrespective of the outcome. Intravitreal clindamycin+dexamethasone and conventional treatment with oral pyrimethamine+sulphadiazine had similar efficacy with regard to all outcome measures in ocular toxoplasmosis, and intravitreal therapy was found to be safe. Adverse effects seemed more common with pyrimethamine+sulphadiazine. Most trials for encephalitis and ocular manifestations had a high risk of bias and were of poor methodological quality. There were no trials evaluating drugs for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy, or for congenital toxoplasmosis. Pyrimethamine+sulphadiazine is an effective therapy for treatment of toxoplasmic encephalitis; trimethoprim+sulphamethoxazole and pyrimethamine+clindamycin are possible alternatives. Treatment with either oral or intravitreal antibiotics seems reasonable for ocular toxoplasmosis. Overall, trial evidence for the efficacy of these drugs for toxoplasmosis is poor, and further well-designed trials are needed.

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