A non-randomized controlled clinical trial was carried outin order to evaluate both azithromycin and antimony efficacy in cutaneous leishmaniasis in Manaus, AM, Brazil. Forty nine patients from both genders, aged 14 to 70, with cutaneous ulcers for less than three months and a positive imprint for Leishmania spp. amastigotes were recruited into two groups. Group I (26 patients) received a daily-single oral dose of 500 mg of azithromycin for 20 days and Group II (23 patients) received a daily-single intramuscular dose of 20 mg/kg of meglumine antimony, also for 20 days. Azithromycin cured three of 24 (12.5%) patients on days 60, 90 and 120 respectively whereas therapeutic failure was considered in 21 of 24 (87.5%) cases. In group II, antimony cured eight of 19 (42.1%) cases as follows: three on day 30, one each on day 60 and day 90, and three on day 120. Therapeutic failure occurred in 11 of 19 (57.9%) individuals. The efficacy of antimony for leishmaniasis was better than azithromycin but analysis for the intention-to-treat response rate did not show statistical difference between them. Although azithromycin was better tolerated, it showed a very low efficacy to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis in Manaus.
Azithromycin; Antimony; Leishmaniasis; Leishmania spp.