Hycanthone Dose-Response in Treatment of Schistosomiasis Mansoni in St. Lucia

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  • Research and Control Department, Ministry of Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, P. O. Box 93, Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies, England
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Clinical trials of hycanthone (single intramuscular dose) were undertaken in schistosomiasis mansoni patients in St. Lucia at five dose levels: 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, and 1.0 mg/kg body weight. The most common side effect, vomiting, decreased in frequency from 51% at the highest dose to 3% at the lowest; minor side effects showed a similar trend. Three fecal specimens were examined before and at 6 months after treatment by qualitative, quantitative, and hatching techniques. All dose levels caused reductions in egg excretion of 89 to 98%. Rates of cure (absence of eggs by all three methods) according to dose (descending), pretreatment egg output (0–19, 20–49, 50–399, 400+ eggs/ml feces), and age (0–7, 8–14, 15–29, 30+ years) were analyzed to estimate the effect of each variable if the others had been constant. For dose, the standardized percentage success rates were 53.9%, 62.0%, 51.2%, 54.0%, and 27.4%; for egg output, 67.0%, 51.8%, 43.2%, and 21.7%; and for age, 25.2%, 34.5%, 59.3%, and 57.4%. Logit regression analysis shows a significant difference in cure rate (a) between the lowest dose and all others, among which latter there was no difference, (b) between patients excreting 0 to 49 eggs/ml before treatment and those excreting 50+ eggs/ml, and (c) between the age groups 0 to 14 and 15+ years. All dose levels caused some regression in enlargement of liver or spleen. A dose of 1.5 to 2.0 mg/kg body weight is considered to be as effective as one of 3.0 mg/kg and more acceptable for a control program because of the marked reduction in side effects.

Author Notes

Staff member, The Rockefeller Foundation.

External staff, British Medical Research Council; seconded to The Rockefeller Foundation.

Professor of Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.