In this section you will find answers to some common questions about Chagas disease. If your question is not included here, you can send it to us using the contact form and our experts will send you an answer.
Yes. In infants under 1 year of age, treatment is very effective. As the patient gets older, treatment does not kill the whole population of parasites, but it does reduce the risk of cardiac complications.
There are two drugs that kill the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi: benznidazole and nifurtimox. These drugs are taken in the form of pills and treatment should be administered under medical supervision for a period of 1-3 months.
Patients who have developed heart disease or digestive symptoms may also be prescribed treatment to improve those problems.
Treatment for Chagas disease does not produce adverse effects in most patients. When adverse effects do occur, they can usually be managed with medication and the patient can continue the treatment. Occasionally, treatment is discontinued early if the adverse effect is severe. For these reasons, drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease should always be taken under medical supervision. Patients should visit their doctor regularly during the months they are taking the drugs in case they develop adverse effects.
The most common adverse effects associated with treatment for Chagas disease are as follows:
- skin reactions
- stomach pain
- sleep disturbances
- joint pain
Occasionally, treatment is associated with more severe adverse effects, such as fever or vomiting, which in rare cases may lead to withdrawal of treatment.
Consult your doctor immediately if you develop any side effects, even if these are not severe.
Paediatric Chagas disease is treatable. The treatment in children is very effective and the sooner it is started the better the results obtained. A 30-day course of treatment is recommended in newborn babies and infants up to 1 year of age. In children aged over 1 year the recommended treatment is 60 days. The dose or amount of drug administered must be prescribed by the paediatrician.
No. Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited during treatment for Chagas.
There are medications you can take at the same time as treatment for Chagas and others that are contraindicated. If you are taking medication for other conditions, you should inform your doctor about these before starting treatment for Chagas. Your doctor can tell you whether or not you can take both drugs at the same time.
Several clinical trials are currently investigating new drugs for Chagas disease. However, all of these trials are ongoing and it will take several years before they produce the results needed to obtain the approval required to market any new product.