Long-term efficacy of single-dose radiofrequency-induced heat therapy vs. intralesional antimonials for cutaneous leishmaniasis in India.Br J Dermatol. 2013 May; 168(5):1114-9.BJ
Radiofrequency-induced heat therapy (RFHT) has been found to be safe and effective against cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in the short term, but its long-term efficacy is unclear.
To compare the long-term efficacy of RFHT vs. intralesional sodium stibogluconate (SSG) injections in the treatment of CL in India.
One hundred patients with a confirmed diagnosis of CL were randomly assigned in a 1 : 1 ratio to receive topical RFHT for 30-60 s or seven intralesional injections of SSG (50 mg cm(-2) of lesion). Improvement and recurrence were monitored every 15 days after the initiation of treatment for 4 months and then at 5, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months post-treatment; the rates of complete cure were compared.
Lesions were healed in 47 out of 50 patients (94%) in the RFHT group and in 46 out of 50 patients (92%) in the SSG group at week 12. Time to complete healing was comparable in the two groups. At 6 months post-treatment, cure rates in the RFHT and SSG groups were 98% [95% confidence interval (CI) 94-100%] and 94% (95% CI 86-100%), respectively. Age, sex and lesion size or number had no effect on cure rates. No relapse of infection was recorded in cured patients in either group up to 12-18 months after initiation of treatment. Skin biopsies of cured lesions in eight out of eight (100%) patients from the RFHT group and three of three from the SSG group at 12 months showed minimal fibrosis and were negative for Leishmania tropica by polymerase chain reaction test.
A single application of RFHT is safe, cosmetically acceptable and effective in inducing a long-term cure of CL.