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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 272

Oral rifampicin in cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis with multiple lesions (A pilot study)

Department of Skin, V.D. & Leprosy, S.P Medical College & A.G. of Hospitals, Bikaner-334 003, India

Correspondence Address:
H-3, PBM Hospital Campus, Bikaner-334 003, India


The multiple lesions of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) require an effective oral agent. We are reporting a pilot study of oral rifampicin 600 mg. bid or 20 mg/kg. body weight in cases of CL with multiple lesions. Our study shows 83.3% parasitological and clinical cure with insignificant side effects after 4 weeks of therapy. No relapse upto 6 months of completion of study was seen.

How to cite this article:
Bumb R A, Mehta R D. Oral rifampicin in cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis with multiple lesions (A pilot study). Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2002;68:272

How to cite this URL:
Bumb R A, Mehta R D. Oral rifampicin in cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis with multiple lesions (A pilot study). Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 2002 [cited 2020 Aug 3];68:272. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a protozoan disease caused by different species of leishmania. The clinical manifestations of the disease vary depending upon species of leishmania and host's immune response to the parasite.[1] The patients with multiple lesions refrain from established intralesional therapies with sodium antiomony gluconate or berberine sulphate. Various oral therapies like ketoconazole,[2] itraconazole,[3] terbinafine[4] etc have been tried with variable response. Vasquez[5] used rifampicin orally in cutaneous leishmaniasis with promising results.

   Materials and Methods Top

Twelve patients of age ranging between 11 - 50 years, out of which 9 males and 3 females, were included in the present study. They were having more than three lesions of more than 2 months duration. All patients were positive for LT bodies in skin smear. They did not have any treatment in the past. Pregnant or lactating females, elderly, debilitated patients or patients having concomitant hepatic pathology were not included in the study.
Morphology of the lesions varied from nodules, plaques and ulcerated plaques, mainly on the exposed parts of body. Routine haemogram and LFTs were done prior to therapy. History, clinical descriptions, progress etc were recorded on the initial visit and weekly follow-ups in printed proforma. Patients were given rifampicin in the dose of 20mg/ kg body weight in two divided doses for four weeks. They were called for weekly follow up for 4 weeks then fortnightly for 3 months and lastly at the end of 6 months.

   Results Top

All the twelve patients completed the study. Out of 12, eight patients (66.6%) showed complete healing after 6 weeks, whereas in two patients (16.6%) at the end of 8 weeks. All ten patients were smear negative after 6 weeks. Two persons did not show any response both clinically and parasitologically. The ten patients who showed complete clinical cure, the healing did not leave any scar, only hyperpigmented patches were left.
There was no intolerable side effect so as to discontinue the therapy except red orange colouring of urine. Three patients felt loss of appetite after 2 weeks of therapy. None of the patients showed any abnormality in laboratory investigations after four weeks of therapy.

   Discussion Top

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is the vector born disease prevalent in this area as an endemic. Many of the patients develop multiple lesions on the exposed parts of the body. Therapeutic modality of intralesional injections of sodium antimony gluconate or berberine sulfate is cumbersome to the patients with multiple lesions. Rifampicin is well tolerated microbicidal drug acting at p450 cytochrome of the organism's metabolism with minimal side effects.
The observations made in our study show promising results in 10 out of 12 (83.3%) showing parasitological cure and complete clinical recovery after 4 weeks of therapy. More so with no scar marks at the site of the lesions.
We propose the use of oral rifampicin to be given in 20mg/kg body weight BID dose schedule for the cases with multiple lesions of cutaneous leishmaniasis. The statement requires to be substantiated in larger group of populations after this pilot study. 

   References Top

1.Bryceson ADM, Hay RJ. Parasitic worms and protozoa. In Rook/Wilkinson/Ebling. Textbook of Dermatology: 6th edition. Vol.2. Blackwell Science Ltd. Oxford London: 1998;1410.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Orhan Ozgoxtasi, Baydar Ibrahim. A randomized clinical-trial of topical paromomycin versus oral ketaconazole for treating cutaneous leishmaniasis in Turkey. Int J Dermatol 1997;36:61-63.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Aliz Momeni, Tahmores Jalayer, et al. Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis with itraconazole. Arch Dermatol 1996;136:784-786.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Bahamadan (A, Tollab TM. Terbinofine in the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis: a pilot study. Int J Dermatol 1997;36:59-60.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Vasquez FR. Rifampicin in leishmanias. Arch Dermatol 1977;113:1610-1611.  Back to cited text no. 5    


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