Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis with sodium stibogluconate and allopurinol in a routine setting in Ethiopia : clinical and patient-reported outcomes and operational challenges

Saskia van Henten, Fentaw Bialfew, Seid Hassen, Feleke Tilahun, Johan van Griensven, Seid Getahun Abdela

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is common in Ethiopia, but the national guideline does not offer specific treatment recommendations. Consequently, different treatment regimens are used in the country, without quality evidence. In Boru Meda Hospital, sodium stibogluconate (SSG) is routinely used in combination with allopurinol for systemic CL treatment, although evidence on its effectiveness is limited. An observational cohort study was carried out to document clinical treatment outcomes in patients receiving SSG/allopurinol at the end of each 28-day treatment cycle and after 180 days. Patient-reported outcomes were assessed by asking patients to rate lesion severity, and by the dermatological life quality index. A total of 104 patients were included. After one treatment cycle, only four patients were clinically cured, although patient-reported outcomes significantly improved. The majority (88) of patients were appointed for a second treatment cycle, of whom only 37 (42%) attended. Among the 36 patients who came for final outcome assessment, 50% were cured. Follow-up and treatment were severely affected by conflict; drug stock-outs and insufficient ward capacity for treatment were additional challenges. The treatment outcomes of SSG/allopurinol were relatively poor, and most patients required more than one cycle of treatment. Shortages of drugs and beds indicate the existing gaps in providing CL treatment in Ethiopia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)414-428
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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