Field safety and effectiveness of new visceral leishmaniasis treatment regimens within public health facilities in Bihar, India

22 Oct 2018
Goyal V, Mahajan R, Pandey K, Singh SN, Singh RS, Strub-Wourgaft N, Burza S, et al.

Background: In 2010, WHO recommended the use of new short-course treatment regimens in kala-azar elimination ef

Background: In 2010, WHO recommended the use of new short-course treatment regimens in kala-azar elimination efforts for the Indian subcontinent. Although phase 3 studies have shown excellent results, there remains a lack of evidence on a wider treatment population and the safety and effectiveness of these regimens under field conditions.

Methods: This was an open label, prospective, non-randomized, non-comparative, multi-centric trial conducted within public health facilities in two highly endemic districts and a specialist referral centre in Bihar, India. Three treatment regimens were tested: single dose AmBisome (SDA), concomitant miltefosine and paromomycin (Milt+PM), and concomitant AmBisome and miltefosine (AmB+Milt). Patients with complicated disease or significant co-morbidities were treated in the SDA arm. Sample sizes were set at a minimum of 300 per arm, taking into account inter-site variation and an estimated failure risk of 5% with 5% precision. Outcomes of drug effectiveness and safety were measured at 6 months. The trial was prospectively registered with the Clinical Trials Registry India: CTRI/2012/08/002891.

Results: Out of 1,761 patients recruited, 50.6% (n = 891) received SDA, 20.3% (n = 358) AmB+Milt and 29.1% (n = 512) Milt+PM. In the ITT analysis, the final cure rates were SDA 91.4% (95% CI 89.3–93.1), AmB+Milt 88.8% (95% CI 85.1–91.9) and Milt+PM 96.9% (95% CI 95.0–98.2). In the complete case analysis, cure rates were SDA 95.5% (95% CI 93.9–96.8), AmB+Milt 95.5% (95% CI 92.7–97.5) and Milt+PM 99.6% (95% CI 98.6–99.9). All three regimens were safe, with 5 severe adverse events in the SDA arm, two of which were considered to be drug related.

Conclusion: All regimens showed acceptable outcomes and safety profiles in a range of patients under field conditions. Phase IV field-based studies, although extremely rare for neglected tropical diseases, are good practice and an important step in validating the results of more restrictive hospital-based studies before widespread implementation, and in this case contributed to national level policy change in India.