Summary: Thirty-five AIDS patients (mean CD4 count 44 x 106/L) with chronic cryptosporidiosis were treated with letrazuril at an initial oral daily dose of 50 mg in an open-label Phase I prospective trial. Treatment was continued for >10 days and for as long as there was a response. The majority of subjects (91%), had previously failed paromomycin treatment. At baseline, 74% of patients had moderate (five to nine bowel movements per day) to severe (>10 bowel movements per day) diarrhea. Twenty-three subjects (66%) had a clinical response within a mean of 1.7 weeks of treatment initiation. Twenty-two patients had a partial response (>50% reduction in bowel movements per day for > 1 week), one patient had a complete response (two or fewer bowel movements per day). Of the responders, 15 (65%) had a clinical relapse with worsening diarrhea at an average of 1.2 months following initiation of letrazuril. The other eight (35%) have had symptom control for an average of 2.9 months from initiation of letrazuril to the latest follow-up. Microbiologic eradication was demonstrated in 10 (40%) of 25 patients with follow-up stool examinations. Seven patients (20%) experienced a rash, all within 1 week of starting the drug, and resolved in all patients when the drug was discontinued. In conclusion, severely immunocompromised AIDS patients with refractory cryptosporidiosis may show a modest, short-lived response to letrazuril. Microbiologic response is variable and relapse high. Rash is a major limiting side effect of the drug.
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