Volume 45, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Pentavalent antimony has been considered to be the standard treatment for leishmaniasis, but more recently, the orally administrable agent allopurinol ribonucleoside has been the subject of several clinical trials. In this study, these two agents were evaluated in patients with Ecuadorian cutaneous leishmaniasis. Patients were randomly assigned to the two treatment groups. The mean reduction in lesion size for the 28 patients treated with Pentostam (20 mg Sb/kg/day intramuscularly for 20 days) was 61%, 23%, and 11% after one, two, and three weeks, respectively. There was a wide range in the individual values, and some lesions markedly enlarged in the first week of therapy. An initially healed lesion was defined as one that had > 80% re-epithelialized by the 1.5-month post-treatment followup. All Pentostam patients demonstrated this degree of lesion resolution (100% initial healing rate), but one patient showed evidence of relapse at the three month followup resulting in a 96% complete healing rate for the 12 month observation period. Patients in the untreated control group demonstrated a strikingly high rate of healing with 9 of 12 patients having re-epithelialized all lesions after 1.5 months observation (75% initial healing rate). The mean reduction in lesion size for the untreated patients was 56%, 29%, and 25% after one, two, and three weeks, respectively. Twenty-one patients received allopurinol ribonucleoside (1, 500 mg QID) plus probenecid (500 mg QID) for 28 days. Lesions in nine of these patients were healed at the time of the 1.5 month followup (41% healing rate).

It is clear that a low self-healing rate in South American cutaneous leishmaniasis can not be assumed, and that studies on potentially new therapeutic regimens will require observations on untreated patients with similar lesions. The wide range of clinical response after 1–2 weeks of treatment or observation, with lesions that ultimately heal, has not been previously unreported, and should be valuable information for clinicians who manage individual cases. The results of this and other reports on the use of allopurinol and its ribonucleoside in the treatment of leishmaniasis are critically reviewed.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error