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Drugs. 1994 Aug;48(2):179-88.

Management of toxoplasmosis.

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.


Toxoplasma gondii, an intracellular coccidian protozoan, is the causative agent of toxoplasmosis, a widespread infection affecting various birds and mammals including humans. In immunocompetent hosts, the infection is usually asymptomatic and benign. Toxoplasmosis is either congenital or acquired. In general, prenatal therapy of congenital toxoplasmosis is beneficial in reducing the frequency of infant infection. Therapies are based primarily on spiramycin because of the relative lack of toxicity and high concentrations achieved in the placenta. Clindamycin is the standard drug for chemoprophylaxis in newborn infants, and is directed at preventing the occurrence of retinochoroiditis as a late sequel to congenital infection. The standard treatment for acquired toxoplasmosis in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient patients is the synergistic combination of pyrimethamine and sulphonamides. Toxoplasmic encephalitis is the most common manifestation of acquired toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients and if not treated is fatal. However, because of toxicity, the therapeutic efficacy of pyrimethamine-sulphonamide combinations may be seriously limited in immunodeficient patients. A number of novel and less toxic agents are being currently studied in clinical settings, including macrolide antibiotics (clindamycin, clarithromycin and azithromycin) and atovaquone, as well as some older anti-infective drugs such as cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole). Maintenance or prophylactic therapy is essential in many patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) where toxoplasmosis is most often the result of a pre-existent latent infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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