Treatment

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 won't cure the disease. But, the drugs may be offered to people younger than age 50 because they may help slow the progression of the disease and its most serious complications.

Additional treatment depends on the specific signs and symptoms:

  • 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.
June 10, 2017
References
  1. Longo DL, et al., eds. Chagas disease and African trypanosomiasis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
  2. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Protozoal and helminthic infections. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2017. 56th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
  3. Chagas disease: Detailed FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
  4. Beryn C. Chagas disease: Management of acute disease, early chronic disease, and disease in immunocompromised hosts. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.