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Kala-azar elimination - A drug treating kala-azar is affecting patients’ eyesight

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This is the last episode in the series on Kala Azar reported by Suno India’s Menaka Rao. 

The Indian government has said that it has hit the elimination target for Kala-azar, a parasitic disease that is life-threatening. But miltefosine, the drug used to treat the skin manifestation of Kala-azar, called Post-Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL), is being linked to eye problems, including blindness. 

The government has taken steps to try to reduce the side effects in 2021, but not much has been done for those who have lost their eyesight either in one eye or both, possibly as a result of miltefosine. The World Health Organization has found 83 cases of people in India who have suffered a problem in the eye after intake of miltefosine. 

In this episode, Menaka spoke to Iliyas Marandi, one of the patients who lost his eyesight completely after taking miltefosine treatment. She also spoke to ophthalmologists Dr Rakhi Kushumesh and Dr Asim Sil who treated such patients, and helped develop the guidelines to prevent such ocular side effects. 



Keratitis occurring in patients treated with miltefosine for post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis | British Journal of Ophthalmology

Using focused pharmacovigilance for ensuring patient safety against antileishmanial drugs in Bangladesh's National Kala-azar Elimination Programme

Keratitis After Post-Kala-Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis

Corneal complications following Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis treatment | PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Adverse ocular events on miltefosine treatment for post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis in India - Suman Saurabh, Manish Mahabir, 2020

Advisory Committee on Safety of Medicinal Products (ACSoMP): Measures to minimize the risk of ocular adverse events with miltefosine

Statement on miltefosine - Potential ocular disorders in patients treated with miltefosine for post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL).

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