Treatment of acute Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis: a systematic review of the randomized controlled trials.
BACKGROUND: Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is caused by different species of Leishmania and transmitted by the bite of infected sand flies. It is a health problem in many countries.
OBJECTIVE: This study was performed to assess the evidence for the efficacy of different therapeutic modalities for acute Old World CL, which is usually caused by L major and L tropica.
METHODS: Evidence was reviewed according to the hierarchy of evidence. Because there have been no published systematic reviews on this topic to date, the primary source of evidence was individual randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Multiple databases were systematically searched. Using independent double review and published quality review criteria, articles were rated as good, fair, or poor. Treatment benefit data were tabulated, and conclusions were based on the rated strength of published evidence.
RESULTS: In all, 50 RCTs met inclusion criteria consisting of 5515 patients in 119 study arms. Reviewed trials were highly variable in quality and methods and generally provide weak evidence for treatment of acute Old World CL.
LIMITATIONS: The quality of included studies was generally poor.
CONCLUSIONS: Well-designed randomized, double-blind, controlled trials should be designed and conducted to find better evidence for the treatment of acute Old World CL.