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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2013 Aug;138(31-32):1601-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1343296. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

[Severe oral mucositis in a patient with HIV infection].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik für Hämatologie, Onkologie, Immunologie, Palliativmedizin, Infektiologie und Tropenmedizin, Universität München.



A 50-year-old man with HIV infection (first diagnosed > 20 years ago) presented at our hospital with fulminant oral mucositis. Antiretroviral therapy (tenofovir, emtricitabine, raltegravir) had been started 2 months ago. Previously he had no opportunistic infections and no other pre-existing illnesses. He had not travelled outside Europe but stayed in Spain for several weeks during summer.


Physical examination revealed swelling of the lips and severe ulcerative mucositis of the gums and pharynx. The patient complained of painful swallowing. The blood-chemistry showed no abnormalities. The microscopical analysis of a smear and a biopsy of the buccal mucosa revealed amastigotes of leishmania. By means of PCR technique, Leishmania donovani complex was specified.


The patient was treated with liposomal amphotericin B (1 mg/kg) for 21 days. Because of the immunosuppression he was put on maintenance therapy afterwards (liposomal amphotericin B every 3 weeks). However, 4 months later there was a clinical relapse of the mucositis and a new cultural and PCR detection of leishmania in a buccal biopsy. After another course of 21 days with liposomal amphotericin B (3 mg/kg) and miltefosine (150 mg/d), the mucositis subsided. Therapy with liposomal amphotericin B (3 mg/kg single dose every 3 weeks) has since been maintained. The antiretroviral therapy was changed meanwhile to lamivudin, abacavir and raltegravir because of kidney failure with elevated urea and creatinine. The patient has been clinically stable ever since without any other HIV-related problems. The latest CD4 count was 456/µl and the HIV load 340 copies/ml.


Leishmaniasis is a severe infection in HIV-positive patients. Clinical manifestations can be atypical in immunosuppressed patients and the treatment is complicated with HIV coinfection. This is also due to a lifelong persistence of the parasite with potential reactivation especially in patients with suppressed CD4 cells. Therefore maintenance therapy after standard therapy of leishmaniasis is mandatory at least for a CD4 count below 350/µl. Especially in HIV patients with a leishmaniasis relapse lifelong maintenance therapy should be considered.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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