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Beneficial effects of benznidazole in Chagas disease: NIH SaMi-Trop cohort study.

  • Author(s): Cardoso, Clareci
  • Ribeiro, Antonio
  • Oliveira, Claudia
  • Oliveira, Lea
  • Ferreira, Ariela
  • Bierrenbach, Ana
  • Silva, José
  • Colosimo, Enrico
  • Ferreira, João
  • Lee, Tzong-Hae
  • Busch, Michael
  • REINGOLD, Arthur L.
  • Sabino, Ester
  • et al.

BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of anti-parasite treatment with benznidazole in the chronic Chagas disease (ChD) remains uncertain. We evaluated, using data from the NIH-sponsored SaMi-Trop prospective cohort study, if previous treatment with benznidazole is associated with lower mortality, less advanced cardiac disease and lower parasitemia in patients with chronic ChD. METHODS: The study enrolled 1,959 ChD patients and abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) from in 21 remote towns in Brazil. A total of 1,813 patients were evaluated at baseline and after two years of follow-up. Those who received at least one course of benznidazole were classified as treated group (TrG = 493) and those who were never treated as control group (CG = 1,320). The primary outcome was death after two-year follow-up; the secondary outcomes were presence at the baseline of major ChD-associated ECG abnormalities, NT-ProBNP levels suggestive of heart failure, and PCR positivity. RESULTS: Mortality after two years was 6.3%; it was lower in the TrG (2.8%) than the CG (7.6%); adjusted OR: 0.37 (95%CI: 0.21;0.63). The ECG abnormalities typical for ChD and high age-adjusted NT-ProBNP levels suggestive of heart failure were lower in the TrG than the CG, OR: 0.35 [CI: 0.23;0.53]. The TrG had significantly lower rates of PCR positivity, OR: 0.35 [CI: 0.27;0.45]. CONCLUSION: Patients previously treated with benznidazole had significantly reduced parasitemia, a lower prevalence of markers of severe cardiomyopathy, and lower mortality after two years of follow-up. If used in the early phases, benznidazole treatment may improve clinical and parasitological outcomes in patients with chronic ChD. TRIAL REGISTRATION:, Trial registration: NCT02646943.

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