Volume 97, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Chagas disease (CD) is caused by the protozoan parasite that infects a broad range of triatomines and mammalian species, including man. It afflicts 8 million people in Latin America, and its incidence is increasing in nonendemic countries owing to rising international immigration and nonvectorial transmission routes such as blood donation. Since the 1960s, the only drugs available for the clinical treatment of this infection have been benznidazole (BZ) and nifurtimox (NFX). Treatment with these trypanocidal drugs is recommended in both the acute and chronic phases of CD. These drugs have low cure rates mainly during the chronic phase, in addition both drugs present side effects that may result in the interruption of the treatment. Thus, more efficient and better-tolerated new drugs or pharmaceutical formulations containing BZ or NFX are urgently needed. Here, we review the drugs currently used for CD chemotherapy, ongoing clinical assays, and most-promising new experimental drugs. In addition, the mechanism of action of the commercially available drugs, NFX and BZ, the biodistribution of the latter, and the potential for novel formulations of BZ based on nanotechnology are discussed. Taken together, the literature emphasizes the urgent need for new therapies for acute and chronic CD.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 20 Sep 2016
  • Accepted : 24 Jun 2017

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