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This article is part of the supplement: Report of a Scientific Working Group on Serious Adverse Events following Mectizan® treatment of onchocerciasis in Loa loa endemic areas

Open Access Review

Clinical picture and outcome of Serious Adverse Events in the treatment of Onchocerciasis

Kwablah Awadzi

Author Affiliations

Onchocerciasis Chemotherapy Research Centre (OCRC) Hohoe Hospital, Hohoe, Ghana

Filaria Journal 2003, 2(Suppl 1):S6  doi:10.1186/1475-2883-2-S1-S6

Published: 24 October 2003

Abstract

Ivermectin (Mectizan®) is the only drug currently recommended for the treatment and control of onchocerciasis. Serious adverse events rarely occur during treatment, except in subjects heavily infected with Loa Loa. This review of drug-related serious adverse events in the treatment of onchocerciasis therefore revisited the pre-Mectizan® reference drugs, DEC and suramin, and other candidate drugs studied extensively for the treatment of human onchocerciasis. The benzimidazole carbamate derivatives and the antibiotic doxycycline were excluded, since no serious adverse events have been reported regarding their use. Using recommended definitions, serious adverse events reported or observed after the use of each drug were summarised, the level of attribution determined, and the results tabulated. Prominence was given to treatment-related deaths. The clinical picture of severe symptomatic postural hypotension is described and used to illustrate the difference between the severity and the seriousness of an adverse event. The epidemiology, management and outcome of serious adverse events are presented. The role of future research is discussed.