Low dose systemic or intralesional meglumine antimoniate treatment for American tegumentary leishmaniasis results in low lethality, low incidence of relapse, and low late mucosal involvement in a referral centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2001-2013)
BACKGROUND American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) is a non-lethal parasitic disease that presents with cutaneous (CL) and mucosal (ML) clinical forms. ATL treatment aims at healing the lesions and preventing the development of the late mucosal form. Systemic meglumine antimoniate (MA) therapy with 10-20 mg Sb5+/kg/day is the first choice of treatment. However, alternative therapies using 5 mg Sb5+/kg/day or intralesional (IL) MA are the usual regimens at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. OBJECTIVES To evaluate lethality and the incidence of relapse and development of late ML in CL patients treated at NIID from 2001 until 2013. METHODS Data were recovered from records of all ATL patients diagnosed during that period. FINDINGS Out of 777 patients, 753 were treated with MA (96.9%). Of those, 89.1% received alternative therapy of 9.9% IL and 79.2% systemic 5 mg Sb5+/kg/day. Some patients required 1-3 additional courses of treatment, thus making a total of 997 courses; 85.2% of them were subjected to alternative therapies. Lethality was 0.1%, relapse incidence 5.8%, and late ML incidence 0.25%. As a final outcome for the 777 patients, 95.9% were cured, 0.1% died and 4.0% were not able to follow-up. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Alternative MA schedules resulted in low lethality without increase of relapse or late ML incidence.