• Effectiveness of miltefosine in cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania tropica in Pakistan after antimonial treatment failure or contraindications to first line therapy-A retrospective analysis.

      Kamink, S; Masih, B; Ali, N; Ullah, A; Khan, SJ; Ashraf, S; Pylypenko, T; Grobusch, MP; Fernhout, J; den Boer, M; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-01-28)
      Background: Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a neglected tropical skin disease, caused by Leishmania protozoa. In Pakistan, where CL caused by L. tropica is highly endemic, therapy with pentavalent antimonials is the standard of care, but has significant toxicity when used in systemic therapy, while are no evidence-based safer alternative treatment options for L. tropica. The efficacy of oral miltefosine has not been studied in CL caused by L. tropica. We evaluated effectiveness and tolerability of miltefosine in patients with previous treatment failure or with contraindications to systemic antimonial treatment. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of a cohort of CL patients who were treated with a 28-day course of miltefosine between December 2017 and August 2019, in urban Quetta, Pakistan, an area endemic for L. tropica. Descriptive analyses were performed, and effectiveness was assessed by initial response after treatment, and final cure at routine follow up visits, six weeks to three months post-treatment. Tolerability was assessed by routinely reported adverse events. Results: Of the 76 CL patients in the cohort, 42 (55%) had contraindications to systemic antimonial treatment, and 34 (45%) had failure or relapse after antimonial treatment. Twelve patients defaulted during treatment and 12 patients were lost to follow up. In the remaining 52 patients, final cure rate was 77% (40/52). In those with contraindications to systemic antimonial treatment the final cure rate was 83% (24/29) and in the failure and relapse group 70% (16/23). Twenty-eight patients (40.0%) reported 39 mild to moderate adverse events with the main complaints being nausea (41.0%), general malaise (25.6%), and stomach pain (12.8%). Conclusion: Results indicate that miltefosine is an effective second line treatment in CL in areas endemic for L. tropica. Prospective studies with systematic follow up are needed to obtain definitive evidence of effectiveness and tolerability, including identification of risk factors for miltefosine treatment failure.
    • Failure of an Innovative Low-Cost, Noninvasive Thermotherapy Device for Treating Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Caused by in Pakistan.

      Kamink, S; Abdi, A; Kamau, C; Ashraf, S; Ansari, MA; Qureshi, NA; Schallig, H; Grobusch, MB; Fernhout, J; Ritmeijer, K (The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2019-10-07)
      Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), a neglected parasitic skin disease, is endemic in Pakistan, where Leishmania tropica and Leishmania major are the causative protozoan species. Standard treatment with antimonial injections is long, painful, and costly; has toxic side effects; and is not always available in public hospitals. Small pilot studies have previously evaluated a low-cost and noninvasive hand-held exothermic crystallization thermotherapy (HECT-CL) device. We aimed to further establish the effectiveness, safety, and feasibility of HECT-CL in L. tropica. In a prospective observational study, patients with parasitological confirmation of CL were treated using the HECT-CL heat pack for 3 minutes with an initial temperature of 52-53°C for 7 consecutive days. Dried blood spot samples were taken for species identification by PCR. Effectiveness was assessed by using medical photographs and measurements of the lesion size at baseline and subsequent follow-up visits, for up to 180 days. We intended to enroll 317 patients. The HECT-CL treatment was easy to apply and well tolerated. Species identification demonstrated the presence of L. tropica. Interim analysis of 56 patients showed a failure rate of 91% at follow-up (median 45 days after treatment, interquartile range 30-60 days). Enrollment of patients was prematurely suspended because of futility. This study showed a high failure rate for HECT-CL thermotherapy in this setting. Leishmania tropica is known to be less sensitive to antileishmanial drugs, more temperature-resistant, and spontaneous healing is slower than that in L. major. More research is needed to identify low-cost, effective, and more patient-friendly treatment for L. tropica.