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Parasitic diseases afflict more than 2 billion people worldwide and are among the leading causes of death and chronic morbidity in resource-limited countries. Because parasites collectively represent a wide array of species, effective therapy of infections caused by these evolutionarily distinct eukaryotes requires an equally diverse armamentarium of pharmacologic agents. The past decade has seen a renewed commitment to antiparasitic drug development, spearheaded by novel public-private partnerships and supported by international philanthropic organizations, a commitment that may ultimately yield new agents for these globally important diseases.1-3 Equally encouraging is the recent recognition that integrated control of multiple tropical diseases can be achieved through periodic administration of inexpensive, orally available medicines to at-risk individuals living in endemic communities.4,5


Table 323-1 lists the major parasitic species that cause disease in humans along with the currently recommended drugs and doses used for therapy or prevention.6 Antimalarial therapy is discussed in Chapter 352, and detailed in Tables 352-2, 352-3, and 352-4. Below are brief descriptions of these agents, including common side effects and toxicities. More specific information is available in the chapters on each pathogen.

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Table 323-1. Antiparasitic Drug Therapy*

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