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Noninferiority of miltefosine versus meglumine antimoniate for cutaneous leishmaniasis in children.

BACKGROUND: Children have a lower response rate to antimonial drugs and higher elimination rate of antimony (Sb) than adults. Oral miltefosine has not been evaluated for pediatric cutaneous leishmaniasis.

METHODS: A randomized, noninferiority clinical trial with masked evaluation was conducted at 3 locations in Colombia where Leishmania panamensis and Leishmania guyanensis predominated. One hundred sixteen children aged 2-12 years with parasitologically confirmed cutaneous leishmaniasis were randomized to directly observed treatment with meglumine antimoniate (20 mg Sb/kg/d for 20 days; intramuscular) (n = 58) or miltefosine (1.8-2.5 mg/kg/d for 28 days; by mouth) (n = 58). Primary outcome was treatment failure at or before week 26 after initiation of treatment. Miltefosine was noninferior if the proportion of treatment failures was ≤15% higher than achieved with meglumine antimoniate (1-sided test, α = .05).

RESULTS: Ninety-five percent of children (111/116) completed follow-up evaluation. By intention-to-treat analysis, failure rate was 17.2% (98% confidence interval [CI], 5.7%-28.7%) for miltefosine and 31% (98% CI, 16.9%-45.2%) for meglumine antimoniate. The difference between treatment groups was 13.8%, (98% CI, -4.5% to 32%) (P = .04). Adverse events were mild for both treatments.

CONCLUSIONS: Miltefosine is noninferior to meglumine antimoniate for treatment of pediatric cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania (Viannia) species. Advantages of oral administration and low toxicity favor use of miltefosine in children.


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