• Effectiveness of melarsoprol and eflornithine as first-line regimens for gambiense sleeping sickness in nine Médecins Sans Frontières programmes.

      Balasegaram, M; Young, H; Chappuis, F; Priotto, G; Raguenaud, M E; Checchi, F; Médecins Sans Frontières-United Kingdom, 67-74 Saffron Hill, London EC1N 8QX, UK. (2008-10-21)
      This paper describes the effectiveness of first-line regimens for stage 2 human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense infection in nine Médecins Sans Frontières HAT treatment programmes in Angola, Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda. Regimens included eflornithine and standard- and short-course melarsoprol. Outcomes for 10461 naïve stage 2 patients fitting a standardised case definition and allocated to one of the above regimens were analysed by intention-to-treat analysis. Effectiveness was quantified by the case fatality rate (CFR) during treatment, the proportion probably and definitely cured and the Kaplan-Meier probability of relapse-free survival at 12 months and 24 months post admission. The CFR was similar for the standard- and short-course melarsoprol regimens (4.9% and 4.2%, respectively). The CFR for eflornithine was 1.2%. Kaplan-Meier survival probabilities varied from 71.4-91.8% at 1 year and 56.5-87.9% at 2 years for standard-course melarsoprol, to 73.0-91.1% at 1 year for short-course melarsoprol, and 79.9-97.4% at 1 year and 68.6-93.7% at 2 years for eflornithine. With the exception of one programme, survival at 12 months was >90% for eflornithine, whilst for melarsoprol it was <90% except in two sites. Eflornithine is recommended where feasible, especially in areas with low melarsoprol effectiveness.
    • Risk factors for treatment failure after melarsoprol for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense trypanosomiasis in Uganda.

      Legros, D; Evans, S; Maiso, F; Enyaru, J C; Mbulamberi, D; Epicentre, Kampala, Uganda. epicentre@imul.com (1999)
      We evaluated the treatment failure rate among late-stage human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) patients treated with melarsoprol in Arua, northern Uganda, between September 1995 and August 1996, and identified the risk factors for treatment failure. We conducted a retrospective cohort study in October 1998, and performed a survival analysis. A treatment failure was defined as a late-stage HAT patient fully treated with melarsoprol and classified as an HAT case at any follow-up visit within 2 years after treatment. Among 428 patients treated in the study period, 130 (30.4%) were identified as treatment failure within 2 years after discharge. The multivariate analysis showed that patients who experienced treatment failure after melarsoprol were more likely to have been admitted as a relapsing case (relative hazard, RH = 11.15 [6.34-19.61]), and to have been diagnosed with trypanosomes in the lymph nodes (RH = 3.19 [2.10-4.83]) or in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (RH = 1.66 [1.09-2.53]). The risk of treatment failure also increased with the number of cells in the CSF. The treatment failure rate after melarsoprol observed in Arua is greatly above the expected figures of 3-9%. More research is needed to confirm whether it is related to the variation of melarsoprol pharmacokinetics between individuals, or if it is associated with a reduced susceptibility of the trypanosomes to melarsoprol. The study emphasizes the need for second-line drugs to treat patients that have already received one or several full course(s) of melarsoprol.