Treatment of cryptosporidiosis in immunocompromised individuals: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Ibrahim Abubakar*, S. H. Aliyu, C. Arumugam, N. K. Usman, P. R. Hunter

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    161 Citations (Scopus)


    Cryptosporidium is a common cause of gastroenteritis and is associated with severe life-threatening illness among immunocompromised individuals. This review aimed to assess the efficacy of interventions for the treatment and prevention of cryptosporidiosis among immunocompromised patients. A search of Medline, Embase and other electronic databases was carried out up to August 2005. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. The relative risk for each intervention was calculated. Seven trials involving 169 participants were included. Nitazoxanide and paramomycin were associated with a relative risk (RR) of reduction in the duration and frequency of diarrhoea of 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.36, 1.94] and 0.74 (95% CI 0.42, 1.31), respectively, showing no evidence of effectiveness. Nitazoxanide led to significant evidence of oocyst clearance compared with placebo with a RR of 0.52 (95% CI 0.30, 0.91). The effect was not significant for HIV-seropositive participants (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.36, 1.37). HIV-seronegative participants on nitazoxanide had a significantly higher relative risk of achieving parasitological clearance of 0.26 (95% CI 0.09, 0.80) based on a single study. No other intervention was associated with either a reduction in diarrhoea, mortality or a significant parasitological response. This review confirms the absence of evidence for effective agents in the management of cryptosporidiosis. The results indicate that nitaxozanide reduces load of parasites and may be useful in immunocompetent individuals. The absence of effective therapy highlights the importance of preventive interventions in this group of patients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)387-393
    Number of pages7
    JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


    • Cryptosporidiosis
    • Meta-analysis
    • Systematic review
    • Therapeutics


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