How is Chagas disease treated?

Today Chagas disease is treatable. Therapy is highly effective if given during the acute phase of the disease and less effective when administered during the chronic phase. This is why early diagnosis is so important.

In infants aged under 1 year, treatment achieves a complete cure.

In young people, treatment also gives good results.

In both children and young people, treatment of Chagas is associated with fewer adverse effects than in adults.

In adults, a cure is not guaranteed, but treatment can stop the disease from progressing and prevent or delay cardiac complications.

Women cannot receive treatment for Chagas disease while they are breastfeeding. Women taking the medication should avoid pregnancy until the course of treatment is completed.

Patients on treatment cannot drink any alcohol because it may interact with the drugs and increase the likelihood of adverse effects.

There are currently two drugs used to treat Chagas disease: benznidazole and nifurtimox. Both of these medicines can cause side effects so treatment should always be given under medical supervision. The drug is taken orally for two or three months, depending on which one is used.

An annual check-up including an electrocardiogram is just as important as treatment. Equally important is seeking medical attention if new symptoms develop.