Treatment for Chagas disease focuses on killing the parasite and managing signs and symptoms.
During the acute phase of Chagas disease, the prescription medications benznidazole and nifurtimox may be of benefit. Both drugs are available in the regions most affected by Chagas disease. In the United States, however, the drugs can be obtained only through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Once Chagas disease reaches the chronic phase, medications aren't effective for curing the disease. Instead, treatment depends on the specific signs and symptoms:
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- Heart-related complications. Treatment may include medications, a pacemaker or other devices to regulate your heart rhythm, surgery, or even a heart transplant.
- Digestive-related complications. Treatment may include diet modification, medications, corticosteroids or, in severe cases, surgery.
- Chagas disease: Detailed FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C. Epidemiology and control of Chagas disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C, et al. Evaluation and treatment of Chagas disease in the United States: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298:2171.
- Yacoub S, et al. Neglected tropical cardiomyopathies: I. Chagas disease. Heart. 2008;94:244.
- Milei J, et al. Prognostic impact of Chagas disease in the United States. American Heart Journal. 2009;157:22.
- Rosenthal PJ. Protozoal & helminthic infections. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2011. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=778139. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Rassi Jr. A, et al. Chagas disease. The Lancet. 2010;375:1388.