Immunosuppression and chagas disease: a management challenge.

Immunosuppression and chagas disease: a management challenge.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Jan;7(1):e1965

Authors: Pinazo MJ, Espinosa G, Cortes-Lletget C, Posada Ede J, Aldasoro E, Oliveira I, Muñoz J, Gállego M, Gascon J

Abstract
Immunosuppression, which has become an increasingly relevant clinical condition in the last 50 years, modifies the natural history of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in most patients with Chagas disease. The main goal in this setting is to prevent the consequences of reactivation of T. cruzi infection by close monitoring. We analyze the relationship between Chagas disease and three immunosuppressant conditions, including a description of clinical cases seen at our center, a brief review of the literature, and recommendations for the management of these patients based on our experience and on the data in the literature. T. cruzi infection is considered an opportunistic parasitic infection indicative of AIDS, and clinical manifestations of reactivation are more severe than in acute Chagas disease. Parasitemia is the most important defining feature of reactivation. Treatment with benznidazole and/or nifurtimox is strongly recommended in such cases. It seems reasonable to administer trypanocidal treatment only to asymptomatic immunosuppressed patients with detectable parasitemia, and/or patients with clinically defined reactivation. Specific treatment for Chagas disease does not appear to be related to a higher incidence of neoplasms, and a direct role of T. cruzi in the etiology of neoplastic disease has not been confirmed. Systemic immunosuppressive diseases or immunosuppressants can modify the natural course of T. cruzi infection. Immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids have not been associated with higher rates of reactivation of Chagas disease. Despite a lack of evidence-based data, treatment with benznidazole or nifurtimox should be initiated before immunosuppression where possible to reduce the risk of reactivation. Timely antiparasitic treatment with benznidazole and nifurtimox (or with posaconazole in cases of therapeutic failure) has proven to be highly effective in preventing Chagas disease reactivation, even if such treatment has not been formally incorporated into management protocols for immunosuppressed patients. International consensus guidelines based on expert opinion would greatly contribute to standardizing the management of immunosuppressed patients with Chagas disease.

PMID: 23349998 [PubMed - in process]