Safety and Efficacy of Short Course Combination Regimens with AmBisome, Miltefosine and Paromomycin for the Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Bangladesh

Citation: Rahman R, Goyal V, Haque R, Jamil K, Faiz A, Samad R, et al. (2017) Safety and efficacy of short course combination regimens with AmBisome, miltefosine and paromomycin for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Bangladesh. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11(5): e0005635.
Published: May 30, 2017

Background: AmBisome therapy for VL has an excellent efficacy and safety profile and has been adopted as a first-line regimen in Bangladesh. Second-line treatment options are limited and should preferably be given in short course combinations in order to prevent the development of resistant strains. Combination regimens including AmBisome, paromomycin and miltefosine have proved to be safe and effective in the treatment of VL in India. In the present study, the safety and efficacy of these same combinations were assessed in field conditions in Bangladesh.
Methods: The safety and efficacy of three combination regimens: a 5 mg/kg single dose of AmBisome + 7 subsequent days of miltefosine (2.5 mg/kg/day), a 5 mg/kg single dose of AmBisome + 10 subsequent days of paromomycin (15 mg/kg/day) and 10 days of paromomycin (15 mg/kg/day) + miltefosine (2.5 mg/kg/day), were compared with a standard regimen of AmBisome 15 mg/kg given in 5 mg/kg doses on days 1, 3 and 5. This was a phase III open label, individually randomized clinical trial. Patients from 5 to 60 years with uncomplicated primary VL were recruited from the Community Based Medical College Bangladesh (CBMC,B) and the Upazila Health Complexes of Trishal, Bhaluka and Fulbaria (all located in Mymensingh district), and randomly assigned to one of the treatments. The objective was to assess safety and definitive cure at 6 months after treatment.
Results: 601 patients recruited between July 2010 and September 2013 received either AmBisome monotherapy (n = 158), AmBisome + paromomycin (n = 159), AmBisome + miltefosine (n = 142) or paromomycin + miltefosine (n = 142). At 6 months post- treatment, final cure rates for the intention-to-treat population were 98.1% (95%CI 96.0–100) for AmBisome monotherapy, 99.4% (95%CI 98.2–100) for the AmBisome + paromomycin arm, 94.4% (95%CI 90.6–98.2) for the AmBisome + miltefosine arm, and 97.9% (95%CI 95.5–100) for paromomycin + miltefosine arm. There were 12 serious adverse events in the study in 11 patients that included 3 non-study drug related deaths. There were no relapses or PKDL up to 6 months follow-up. All treatments were well tolerated with no unexpected side effects. Adverse events were most frequent during treatment with miltefosine + paromomycin, three serious adverse events related to the treatment occurred in this arm, all of which resolved.
Conclusion: None of the combinations were inferior to AmBisome in both the intention-to-treat and per-protocol populations. All the combinations demonstrated excellent overall efficacy, were well tolerated and safe, and could be deployed under field conditions in Bangladesh. The trial was conducted by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR,B) and the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College (ShSMC), Dhaka, in collaboration with the trial sites and sponsored by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
Trial registration: NCT01122771

Author summary: Treatment is one of the key strategies for visceral leishmaniasis control and elimination. Historically a number of monotherapy drugs for VL treatment were used in Bangladesh, including pentavalent antimonials, amphotericin B deoxycholate (AmB), and miltefosine (MF). With the limited number of drugs available, it was necessary to preserve existing drugs and also to develop shorter and safer treatment regimens. At the time the study was initiated, miltefosine monotherapy was a recommended first-line treatment in Bangladesh. The present study aimed to provide safety and efficacy data for three short-course combination regimens including AmBisome, miltefosine and paromomycin when rolled out in field conditions in Bangladesh, and to compare these to AmBisome monotherapy. All combinations proved non-inferior to AmBisome monotherapy and were safe and well tolerated. This study was implemented in field conditions at Upazila level with treatment provided by government doctors, providing further evidence for scaling up new regimens in national program contexts within the public health sector.


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