Nitazoxanide in the Treatment of Cryptosporidial Diarrhea and other Intestinal Parasitic Infections Associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in Tropical Africa

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  • Department of Parasitology, and Department of Internal Medicine, Mali National School of Medicine and Pharmacy, The Romark Institute for Medical Research, Department of Hematology and Biochemistry, Point G. National Hospital, Bamako, Mali

Eighteen patients hospitalized with intestinal parasitic infections associated with diarrhea and dehydration completed a study of nitazoxanide in the treatment of Cryptosporidium parvum and other intestinal parasitic infections. Seventeen of the 18 patients were positive for human immunodeficiency virus. Twelve patients were diagnosed with clinical Stage 4 acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) according to the 1990 World Health Oganization proposed clinical classification system and cryptosporidiosis. Nitazoxanide (500 mg tablets) were administered orally, one tablet twice a day for seven consecutive days. Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts were eradicated or reduced by more than 95% in seven of the 12 Stage 4 AIDS patients who completed the study based upon two post-treatment fecal examinations conducted on days 7 and 14 following the initiation of treatment. The elimination or reduction of C. parvum oocysts was associated with a complete resolution of diarrhea in four of the seven patients. The test drug was also effective against cases of Isospora belli, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, Hymenolepis nana, and Dicrocoelium dentriticum. Treatment with nitazoxanide was well tolerated by the patients. There were no abnormalities in blood chemistry or hematology data that were considered to be attributable to nitazoxanide therapy. Transient episodes of vomiting were observed in four patients, all with Stage 4 AIDS and cryptosporidiosis, which resolved spontaneously without discontinuation of treatment and were not considered to be related to administration of nitazoxanide.