Miltefosine: oral treatment of leishmaniasis.Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Apr; 4(2):177-85.ER
The well-known problems of classic treatment of the leishmaniases with pentavalent antimony (reduced efficacy), difficulties of administration and increasing frequency and severity of adverse events have stimulated the search for new drugs to treat these diseases. Other injectable, oral and topical drugs have not been consistently effective, especially in the modern World. Beginning in 1998, Indian researchers conducted several trials with hexadecylphosphocholine (miltefosine) in patients with visceral leishmaniasis, and in 1999, clinical studies were initiated in Colombia for cutaneous disease. More than 2500 patients have been treated, including patients with diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis, mucosal disease and patients coinfected with HIV. Cure rates between 91 and 100% were reached with a dose of 2.5 mg/kg/day for 28 days, with no difference between treatment-naive and relapsing patients. Mild gastrointestinal events were present in 35-60% of patients and 10-20% had mild transaminase and creatinine elevations. Miltefosine has potent leishmanicidal activity as a consequence of its interference in parasite metabolic pathways and the induction of apoptosis. Miltefosine is the first effective and safe oral agent with the potential to treat all major clinical presentations of leishmaniasis.