oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Melarsoprol toxicity in the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis. Ten cases treated with Dimercaprol

Volume 34, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Infection with Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (African sleeping sickness) is characterized by early menigoencephalitic invasion. An alarming increase in the number of cases of this disease has been observed at Kabanga Hospital, Tanzania and this trend seems to be persisting. We report a preliminary trial to evaluate the effect of dimercaprol (BAL) in reversing the often fatal toxicity related to melarsoprol (Mel B) therapy. A brief descriptionption of the disease, methods of establishing the diagnosis, documentation and treatment of patients with CNS involvement, criteria for BAL therapy and results of the BAL trial are discussed. Summaries of 10 patients who developed encephalopathy during treatment with Mel B and received a course of the chelating agent BAL are given. Three of these patients died and seven recovered completely. It is hoped that this preliminary trial will stimulate interest in further trials with BAL so that the therapeutic benefit may be more accurately defined.

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