• Effectiveness of a 10-day melarsoprol schedule for the treatment of late-stage human African trypanosomiasis: confirmation from a multinational study (IMPAMEL II).

      Schmid, C; Richer, M; Bilenge, C M M; Josenando, T; Chappuis, F; Manthelot, C R; Nangouma, A; Doua, F; Asumu, P; Simarro, P; et al. (Infectious Diseases Society of America and University of Chicago Press, 2005-06-01)
      BACKGROUND: Treatment of late-stage human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) with melarsoprol can be improved by shortening the regimen. A previous trial demonstrated the safety and efficacy of a 10-day treatment schedule. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this schedule in a noncontrolled, multinational drug-utilization study. METHODS: A total of 2020 patients with late-stage HAT were treated with the 10-day melarsoprol schedule in 16 centers in 7 African countries. We assessed outcome on the basis of major adverse events and the cure rate after treatment and during 2 years of follow-up. RESULTS: The cure rate 24 h after treatment was 93.9%; 2 years later, it was 86.2%. However, 49.3% of patients were lost to follow-up. The overall fatality rate was 5.9%. Of treated patients, 8.7% had an encephalopathic syndrome that was fatal 45.5% of the time. The rate of severe bullous and maculopapular eruptions was 0.8% and 6.8%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The 10-day treatment schedule was well implemented in the field and was effective. It reduces treatment duration, drug amount, and hospitalization costs per patient, and it increases treatment-center capacity. The shorter protocol has been recommended by the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control for the treatment of late-stage HAT caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense.
    • Nifurtimox-eflornithine Combination Therapy for Second-Stage Trypanosoma Brucei Gambiense Sleeping Sickness: A Randomized Clinical Trial in Congo.

      Priotto, G; Kasparian, S; Ngouama, D; Ghorashian, S; Arnold, U; Ghabri, S; Karunakara, U; Epicentre, Paris, France. gpriotto@epicentre.msf.org (Published by: Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2007-12-01)
      BACKGROUND: Human African trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is a fatal disease. Current treatment options for patients with second-stage disease are either highly toxic or impracticable in field conditions. We compared the efficacy and safety of the nifurtimox-eflornithine drug combination with the standard eflornithine regimen for the treatment of second-stage disease. METHODS: A randomized, open-label, active-control, phase III clinical trial comparing 2 arms was conducted at the Sleeping Sickness Treatment Center, which was run by Medecins Sans Frontieres, in Nkayi, Bouenza Province, Republic of Congo. Patients were screened for inclusion and randomly assigned to receive eflornithine alone (400 mg/kg per day given intravenously every 6 h for 14 days) or eflornithine (400 mg/kg per day given intravenously every 12 h for 7 days) plus nifurtimox (15 mg/kg per day given orally every 8 h for 10 days). Patients were observed for 18 months. The study's outcomes were cure and adverse events attributable to treatment. RESULTS: A total of 103 patients with second-stage disease were enrolled. Cure rates were 94.1% for the eflornithine group and 96.2% for the nifurtimox-eflornithine group. Drug reactions were frequent in both arms, and severe reactions affected 25.5% of patients in the eflornithine group and 9.6% of those in the nifurtimox-eflornithine group, resulting in 2 and 1 treatment suspensions, respectively. There was 1 death in the eflornithine arm and no deaths in the nifurtimox-eflornithine arm. CONCLUSIONS: The nifurtimox-eflornithine combination appears to be a promising first-line therapy for second-stage sleeping sickness. If our findings are corroborated by ongoing findings from additional sites (a multicenter extension of this study), the new nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy will mark a major and multifaceted advance over current therapies.
    • 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.