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Current status of Chagas disease chemotherapy.

Chagas disease affects 7.7 million people and 28 million people are at risk of acquiring the disease in 15 endemic countries of Latin America. Benznidazole and nifurtimox are drugs that have been used to treat the disease. However, both drugs induce severe side effects. Treatment with benznidazole has been recommended for the acute phase (0-4 months after infection), recent chronic phase (children 0-14 years of age, treated 4 months after infection) and congenital infection. Average cure rates for Chagas disease patients obtained from clinical trials were 97.9% (congenital infection, treatment performed 0-6 months of age), 71.5% (acute phase), 57.6% (recent chronic phase, children 0-13 years of age) and 5.9% (late chronic phase, great majority of patients between 15 and 69 years of age). Clinical evidence about the capacity of antiparasitic treatment to avoid, stop or revert heart pathology in indeterminate and cardiac chronic patients is contradictory. The investigation of novel therapeutic strategies against Chagas disease remains a priority in the research of tropical diseases. Unfortunately, Chagas disease remains neglected in the formulation of strategies toward control of this disease. This article focuses on current therapeutic approaches to Chagas disease.

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