Complex cutaneous and muco-cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL and MCL) often requires systemic therapy. Liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) has a strong potential for a solid clinical benefit in this indication.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of data from a French centralized referral treatment program and from the "LeishMan" European consortium database. All patients with parasitologically proven CL or MCL who received at least one dose of L-AmB were included. Positive outcome was based on ulcer closure as per recent WHO workshop guidelines.
From 2008 through 2016, 43 travelers returning from 18 countries (Old World n = 28; New World n = 15) were analyzed with a median follow-up duration of 79 days [range 28-803]. Main clinical forms were: localized CL with one or multiple lesions (n = 32; 74%) and MCL (n = 8; 19%). As per published criteria 19 of 41 patients (46%) were cured 90 days after one course of L-AmB. When the following items -improvement before day 90 but no subsequent follow-up, delayed healing (>3 months) and healing after a second course of L-AmB- were included in the definition of cure, 27 of 43 patients (63%) had a positive outcome. Five patients (MCL = 1; CL = 4) experienced a relapse after a median duration of 6 months [range 3-27] post treatment and 53% of patients (23/43) experienced at least one adverse event including severe hypokalaemia and acute cardiac failure (one patient each). In multivariate analysis, tegumentary infection with L. infantum was associated with complete healing after L-AmB therapy (OR 5.8 IC 95% [1.03-32]) while infection with other species had no impact on outcome.
In conditions close to current medical practice, the therapeutic window of L-AmB was narrow in travellers with CL or MCL, with the possible exception of those infected with L. infantum. Strict follow-up is warranted when using L-AmB in patients with mild disease.