CD4 lymphocyte depletion associated with Pentostam therapy of cutaneous leishmaniasis

G. Wortmann*, N. Aronson, C. Oster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: 3 of 84 cutaneous leishmaniasis patients treated with intravenous sodium stibogluconate (Pentostam) developed herpes zoster during or shortly after therapy. Zoster has been reported in patients with kala-azar treated with Pentostam, but not with treatment of cutaneous disease. We hypothesized that Pentostam may transiently decrease cell-mediated immunity by affecting the CD4 lymphocyte number. Method: 7 male patients enrolled in a Pentostam IND protocol receiving 20mg/kg/day IV were prospectively monitored at day 0,7,14,20 and longer, if possible, for T cell subset analysis, total white blood cell count (WBC) and total lymphocyte count (TLC). Results: median Day 0 Day 7 Day 14 Day 20 Follow-up CD4 1020 591 710 786 900 WBC 5.8 4.8 5.9 5.5 5.2 TLC 2160 1344 1449 1778 1976 Conclusion: Parenteral Pentostam 20mg/kg/day is associated with a fall in WBC, TLC and CD4 count by day 7. Limited follow-up suggests a return to baseline after cessation of therapy. This may be a contributing factor for the reactivation of herpes zoster seen in our patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384
Number of pages1
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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