Brazil: The long-term prognosis of patients suffering from Chagas disease showed improvement with anti-parasitic drug benznidazole.
A new study published in the journal Plos Neglected Tropical Disease found that Chagas patients, when treated with benznidazole had significantly reduced parasitemia, a lower prevalence of markers of severe cardiomyopathy, and lower mortality after two years of follow-up.
Around 5.7 million people in Latin America are infected with the Chagas disease(ChD) but only a few treatments exist, and among known treatment options, specific therapeutic benefits are not well understood.
Researchers in Brazil observed 1,813 patients who had tested positive for T. cruzi infection for two years, comparing clinical outcomes of those who had previously received benznidazole treatments with those who had not taken benznidazole.
The study found that Chagas patients treated with benznidazole while still in the early stages of the disease had improved clinical and parasitological outcomes after a two-year follow-up period. Compared to the untreated group, researchers observed lowered mortality rates, lower parasite counts, and a lower risk of Chagas-related heart disease.
“Because there are millions of untreated ChD patients in the world and no new treatments are available for the foreseeable future, it is reasonable to consider treating all Chagas disease patients without advanced cardiopathy with benznidazole, especially those who are less than 50 years of age,” write the authors.
The study concluded that If used in the early phases of the Chagas disease, benznidazole treatment may result in better clinical and parasitological outcomes. And it is reasonable to consider treating all Chagas disease patients without advanced cardiopathy with benznidazole, especially those less than 50 years-old of age.
Chagas disease (ChD), caused by the protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi, is one of the most important neglected diseases and a leading cause of cardiopathy and death in Latin America, With continuing migration from Latin America to North America and Europe, ChD has become a global problem, with hundreds of thousands of infected persons living in non-endemic countries.
Chagas cardiomyopathy is the most serious manifestation of ChD and may present as heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias, heart block, or thromboembolic phenomena
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