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Antiamoebic drugs for treating amoebic colitis.

BACKGROUND: Infection with the protozoan Entamoeba histolytica is common in low- and middle-income countries, and up to 100,000 people with severe disease die every year. Adequate therapy for amoebic colitis is necessary to reduce illness, prevent development of complicated disease and extraintestinal spread, and decrease transmission.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate antiamoebic drugs for treating amoebic colitis.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the available literature up to 22 March 2018. We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialised Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS, mRCT, and conference proceedings. We contacted individual researchers, organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, and we checked reference lists.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials of antiamoebic drugs given alone or in combination, compared with placebo or another antiamoebic drug, for treating adults and children with a diagnosis of amoebic colitis.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed the eligibility and methodological quality of trials and extracted and analysed the data. We calculated clinical and parasitological failure rates and rates of relapse and adverse events as risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), using a random-effects model. We determined statistical heterogeneity and explored possible sources of heterogeneity using subgroup analyses. We carried out sensitivity analysis by using trial quality to assess the robustness of reported results.

MAIN RESULTS: In total, 41 trials (4999 participants) met the inclusion criteria of this review. In this update, we added four trials to the 37 trials included in the first published review version. Thirty trials were published over 20 years ago. Only one trial used adequate methods of randomization and allocation concealment, was blinded, and analysed all randomized participants. Only one trial used an E histolytica stool antigen test, and two trials used amoebic culture.Tinidazole may be more effective than metronidazole for reducing clinical failure (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.51; 477 participants, eight trials; low-certainty evidence) and is probably associated with fewer adverse events (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.92; 477 participants, 8 trials; moderate-certainty evidence). Compared with metronidazole, combination therapy may result in fewer parasitological failures (RR 0.36, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.86; 720 participants, 3 trials; low-certainty evidence), but we are uncertain which combination is more effective than another. Evidence is insufficient to allow conclusions regarding the efficacy of other antiamoebic drugs.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Compared with metronidazole, tinidazole may be more effective in reducing clinical failure and may be associated with fewer adverse events. Combination drug therapy may be more effective for reducing parasitological failure compared with metronidazole alone. However, these results are based mostly on small trials conducted over 20 years ago with a variety of poorly defined outcomes. Tests that detect E histolytica more accurately are needed, particularly in countries where concomitant infection with other bacteria and parasites is common.

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