Neglected tropical diseases

WHO includes combination of eflornithine and nifurtimox in its Essential List of Medicines for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis

A combination of drugs for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, received approval by the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines at its 17th meeting on 30 April 2009.

The combination of eflornithine and nifurtimox can now be used and will provide a new opportunity to improve the management of sleeping sickness cases. Clinical tests have proved that a combination of both drugs reduces the duration of drug-treatment; makes it easier to administer through oral doses, while maintaining the same level of efficacy when treated over a longer period of time with eflornithine alone.

This important achievement is the result of the commitment, obstinacy and enthusiasm of many colleagues: lab technicians, nurses, doctors from both the health care facilities and mobile teams, including those who contributed to solve many logistic problems and also the efforts done by the Sleeping Sickness National Control Programmes in Congo, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Epicentre, MSF, TDR, DNDi and STI . The continuous support of sanofi-aventis and Bayer HealthCare is highly appreciated.

WHO has been preparing the arrival of this new therapeutic opportunity and will now be able to supply - in collaboration with MSF-Logistique - the drugs and the additional materials needed for their use.

WHO will now ensure the training to get skilled staff to guarantee adequate use of the combination.

WHO will also monitor the implementation of this combination.

The inclusion in EML can be consulted in :
17th Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines

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