Clinical and pharmacological profile of benznidazole for treatment of Chagas disease
Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
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Introduction: Chagas disease (CD) is one of the most neglected public health problems in the Americas, where <1% of the estimated 6 million people with the infection have been diagnosed and treated. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the parasite, decrease the probability of cardiomyopathy and other complications during the chronic stage of infection, and interrupt the cycle of disease transmission by preventing congenital infection. Currently, only benznidazole (BZN) and nifurtimox are recognized by the World Health Organization as effective drugs for treatment of CD. In this paper, we provide an overview of the clinical pharmacology of BZN. Areas covered: This review covers the historical background, chemistry, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, preclinical research, resistance, clinical research, toxicology, adverse effects, and current regulatory status of BZN. Expert commentary: Ongoing investigations aim to optimize BZN therapy by adjusting the current standard regimen or by combining BZN with new chemical entities. These studies are assessing alternatives that improve safety while maintaining or increasing the efficacy of BZN. Timely diagnosis and antitrypanosomal treatment are critical components of programs to eliminate CD as a public health problem, and can dramatically reduce the heavy burden of morbidity and mortality caused by the disease.