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The Texas Institute of Dermatology Team Finds Easy-to-Apply, Topical Drug Just as Good as Injectable Compound for a Disfigurating Skin Infection
Date:3/5/2009

SAN ANTONIO, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- A plentiful, inexpensive, topical compound is as effective at treating the skin lesions of Middle Eastern and African leishmaniasis as is the standard therapy, a less-available, costlier compound injected into lesions. That's one of the findings of a research team from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Thomas Jefferson University and led by Reza F. Ghohestani, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Texas Institute of Dermatology and an associate professor of medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The panel, reporting in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases, analyzed 14 major clinical research trials that enrolled 1,221 patients. The trials compared the standard therapeutics, known as pentavalent antimony compounds, with the topical treatment, paramomycin. Old World leishmaniasis infection is caused by parasites carried by the desert sandfly and can be found mainly in the Middle East, Mediterranean Sea coastal areas, Africa, and Asia.

More than 12 million people in 88 countries suffer from leishmaniasis and 2 million new cases are diagnosed annually, the authors wrote.

"Millions of people worldwide suffer with leishmaniasis, but we in South Texas should keep in mind that cutaneous leishmaniasis is not a rare entity here, either," Dr. Ghohestani said. "In our area the infection is mainly seen in people coming from Mexico and soldiers returning from Iraq."

Pentavalent antimony compounds were considered the main therapeutic option for all types of cutaneous leishmaniasis for decades. They were given intravenously, into muscle or into lesions.

"Our findings suggest that the topical paramomycin can be a good alternative for the Old World type of leishmaniasis, especially if MBCL is added," Dr. Ghohesta
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SOURCE Texas Institute of Dermatology
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