Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: The Efficacy of Nonantimony Treatment in the Austere Environment Using Cryotherapy, Thermotherapy, and Photodynamic Therapy as an Alternative Method of Treatment


Kunzler B 13(4). 40 - 45 (Journal Article)

The author provides a retrospective review of clinical trials evaluating cryotherapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and thermotherapy in the treatment of cutaneous Leishmania infestations. Current cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) treatment is based primarily on antimony compounds such as meglumine antimoniate, sodium stibogluconate, ketaconozole, amphotericin B, and other similar compounds. All have potentially severe sideeffects and relatively narrow therapeutic windows (i.e., the minimum doses that are therapeutic and do not cause harm). Investigational modalities using heat and cold therapies were shown to have similar results compared with current treatment regimens. Combination therapies have also been investigated and are the standard of treatment in the United States. Although the current therapies are effective in the treatment of the trypanosomatid protozoan Leishmania parasite, some effective alternative modalities have been shown to have fewer serious side-effects compared with current medications. Investigational studies that were reviewed showed that whether used individually or as an adjunct to traditional therapies, alternative treatment methods proved to be equally efficacious in treating CL. Some investigational therapies, such as cryotherapy as the sole modality, approached 92% cure rate. Any of the three investigated alternatives (i.e., heat, cold, or photodynamic) are techniques that could be readily used by Special Operations Forces (SOF) medics during their operations in remote and/or austere regions of the world.

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