Skip to main content

Medications for Trypanosomiasis

Other names: African Trypanosomiasis; American Trypanosomiasis; Chagas disease

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite related to the African trypanosome that causes sleeping sickness. It is transmitted by the bite of a triatomine bug. It is one of the major health problems in South America, but due to immigration, the disease also affects people in the United States.

The first symptoms presented in people bitten by a triatomine bug include a skin lesion or a purplish swelling of the lid of one eye (Romaña sign). The acute phase of the disease lasts about two months and symptoms can include fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain. The chronic phase of the disease can last for decades and symptoms include cardiac or gastrointestinal complications.

Antiparasitic treatment is most effective if used early in the course of infection. Benznidazole and nifurtimox are both used to treat American trypanosomiasis.

Human African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) is an infection caused by the protozoa Trypanosoma brucei gambiense or Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected tsetse fly. The Trypanosoma brucei gambiense form of Human African trypanosomiasis occurs in West and Central Africa, and the Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense form occurs in East Africa.

The first stage of Human African trypanosomiasis is called the hemolymphatic stage, and symptoms include fever, headaches, enlarged lymph nodes, joint pain, and itching. The second stage of the disease is the meningoencephalic stage, which occurs when the infection has spread to the central nervous system. Symptoms include sleep cycle disturbances, changes of behavior, confusion, sensory disturbances, and poor coordination. 

Fexinidazole is approved for the treatment of both the hemolymphatic and meningoencephalic stages of Human African trypanosomiasis.

 

 

Drugs used to treat Trypanosomiasis

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
pentamidine Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: pentamidine systemic

Brand names:  Nebupent, Pentam, Pentam 300

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics, inhaled anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Lampit Rate Add review
Rx N X

Generic name: nifurtimox systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

benznidazole Rate Add review
Rx N X

Generic name: benznidazole systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Nebupent Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: pentamidine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics, inhaled anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Pentam Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: pentamidine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics, inhaled anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Pentam 300 Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: pentamidine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics, inhaled anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

nifurtimox Rate Add review
Rx N X

Generic name: nifurtimox systemic

Brand name:  Lampit

Drug class: miscellaneous antibiotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph

fexinidazole Rate Add review
Rx N X

Generic name: fexinidazole systemic

Drug class: amebicides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Learn more about Trypanosomiasis

Mayo Clinic reference

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription only.
OTC Over-the-counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over-the-counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.