CDC makes miltefosine more widely available

The CDC announced on Friday that it has an expanded access investigational new drug protocol with the Food and Drug Administration that will allow easier CDC access to the free-living amebae drug miltefosine.

Miltefosine is used to treat leishmaniasis and is also able to be used against FLA, but only as an investigational drug. With CDC assistance, the drug has been administered for FLA cases in the United States since 2009.

Miltefosine has been shown to offer a survival advantage for patients with the often fatal infection of FLA. The expanded access IND protocol is partly supported by 26 case reports of FLA infection being treated by miltefosine.

Miltefosine is mostly well-tolerated by the human body, with some minor side effects like gastrointestinal symptoms. Miltefosine has been used to successfully treat patients with B. mandrillaris and Acanthamoeba species of infections, but has not been used successfully with Naegleria infection.

FLA infections are severe and usually life-threatening. They comes from amebic meningoencephalitis caused by Naegleria fowleri and granulomatous amebic encephalitis caused by Balamuthia mandrillaris and Acanthamoeba species. Mortality rate from FLA infections remain greater than 90 percent even with drug treatment.