JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Treatment Strategy in Human Ocular Toxoplasmosis: Why Antibiotics Have Failed.

BACKGROUND: There is currently no clear evidence of the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in acute ocular toxoplasmosis (OT), but its effect as a secondary prophylaxis is undisputed. The majority of uveitis specialists advocate treatment. This meta-analytic review aims to critically analyze determinants of treatment success and to update current treatment strategies for OT in order to explain this discrepancy.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in NCBI/PubMed, Clinical Trials, Google Scholar and ScienceDirect to retrieve pro- and retrospective studies using the key terms "ocular toxoplasmosis" or "retinochoroiditis" and "immunocompetent" and "treatment" or "therapy" and "human." Of these, larger case series and prospective clinical studies and cross references identified from meta-analyses were selected by a manual search, and primary and secondary outcome parameters were extracted.

RESULTS: Ten case series and clinical trials reported success parameters for treatment outcomes, and four additional for recurrence prophylaxis. Five treatment studies were randomized clinical trials, three comparative and two noncomparative case series. Though several outcome parameters were reported, five of them defined time to healing, four visual gain and one lesion size as primary and secondary outcome parameters, recurrence rate as a secondary outcome parameter was reported once. No conclusive evidence was found for an antibiotic treatment effect. Four prophylaxis studies addressed the prevention of recurrences after treatment. The primary outcome in all studies was the effect of treatment and prophylaxis on recurrences, and all four found a significant effect on the risk of and time to recurrences.

CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotic treatment of OT aims at controlling parasite proliferation. The absence of an effect on visual acuity and time to healing is thus not surprising. The fact that time to and number of recurrences respond to recurrence of prophylaxis proves the antibiotic effect on parasite activity.

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