From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Trade names Lampit
AHFS/ Micromedex Detailed Consumer Information
  • Undetermined
Routes of
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability Low
Metabolism Hepatic (CYP involved)
Biological half-life 2.95 ± 1.19 hours
Excretion Renal, very low
CAS Number 23256-30-6 N
ATC code P01CC01 (WHO) QP51AC01 (WHO)
PubChem CID 31772
ChemSpider 29464 YesY
KEGG D00833 YesY
Chemical data
Formula C10H13N3O5S
Molar mass 287.293 g/mol
Chirality Racemic mixture
Physical data
Melting point 180 to 182 °C (356 to 360 °F)
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Nifurtimox is a 5-nitrofuran used to treat diseases caused by trypanosomes including Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. It is given by mouth and not by injection.

It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.[1]

Medical uses[edit]

Being a nitroaromatic compound, nifurtimox undergoes reduction and eventually creates oxygen radicals such as superoxide. These radicals are toxic to T. cruzi. Mammalian cells are protected by presence of catalase, glutathione, peroxidases, and superoxide dismutase.

Nifurtimox has been used to treat Chagas disease, when it is given for 30 to 60 days,[2] but gastrointestinal and neurological side effects have meant that benznidazole is now preferred for that indication.[citation needed]

Nifurtimox has also been used to treat African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and is active in the second stage of the disease (central nervous system involvement). When nifurtimox is given on its own, about half of all patients will relapse,[3] but the combination of melarsoprol with nifurtimox appears to be efficacious.[4] Trials are awaited comparing melarsoprol/nifurtimox against melarsoprol alone for African sleeping sickness.[5]

Combination therapy with eflornithine and nifurtimox is safer and easier than treatment with eflornithine alone, and appears to be equally or more effective. It has been recommended as first-line treatment for second-stage African trypanosomiasis.[6]


Nifurtimox is in a phase-II clinical trial for the treatment of pediatric neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma.[7]

Side effects, contraindications, and interactions[edit]

Side effects occur following chronic administration, particularly in elderly people. Major toxicities include immediate hypersensitivity such as anaphylaxis and delayed hypersensitivity reaction involving icterus and dermatitis. Gastrointestinal (GI) problems may occur that are severe enough to cause weight loss. Central nervous system disturbances and peripheral neuropathy may also occur. Cell mediated immunity may also be suppressed.

Manufacturing and availability[edit]

Nifurtimox is sold as Lampit by Bayer. It was previously known as Bayer 2502.

Nifurtimox is only licensed for use in Argentina and Germany,[citation needed] where it is sold as 120-mg tablets.


  1. ^ "WHO Model List of EssentialMedicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Coura JR, de Castro SL (2002). "A critical review of Chagas disease chemotherapy". Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 97 (1): 3–24. doi:10.1590/S0074-02762002000100001. PMID 11992141. 
  3. ^ Pepin J, Milord F, Mpia B, et al. (1989). "An open clinical trial of nifurtimox for arseno-resistant T. b. gambiense sleeping sickness in central Zaire". Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 83 (4): 514–7. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(89)90270-8. PMID 2694491. 
  4. ^ Bisser S, N'Siesi FX, Lejon V, et al. (2007). "Equivalence Trial of Melarsoprol and Nifurtimox Monotherapy and Combination Therapy for the Treatment of Second-Stage Trypanosoma brucei gambiense Sleeping Sickness". J Infect Dis. 195 (3): 322–329. doi:10.1086/510534. PMID 17205469. 
  5. ^ Pepin J (2007). "Combination Therapy for Sleeping Sickness: A Wake-Up Call". J Infect Dis. 195 (3): 311–13. doi:10.1086/510540. PMID 17205466. 
  6. ^ Priotto G, Kasparian S, Mutombo W, et al. (July 2009). "Nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy for second-stage African Trypanosoma brucei gambiense trypanosomiasis: a multicentre, randomised, phase III, non-inferiority trial". Lancet. 374 (9683): 56–64. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61117-X. PMID 19559476. 
  7. ^ Clinical trial number NCT00601003 at . Retrieved on July 10, 2009.