A review of 84 patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis treated with sodium stibogluconate (Pentostam) at our institution revealed that three had developed herpes zoster during or shortly after receiving therapy. Because zoster has been associated with depressed cellular immunity, we prospectively followed serial lymphocyte subpopulations in eight patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis who received Pentostam. By day 7 of therapy, the white blood cell count had fallen by a median of 1.15/mm3, the total lymphocyte count by a median of 804/mm3, and the CD4+ lymphocyte count by a median of 306/mm3 (67% of baseline; confidence interval, 52%-78%). An in vitro cell-viability assay demonstrated that Pentostam is not toxic to human mononuclear cells. The administration of Pentostam for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis results in lymphopenia that may be related to the subsequent occurrence of herpes zoster.