Friday, May 25, 2007

Anti-protozoal Drugs

Anti-protozoal Drugs

Protozoa are single celled organisms that are present in soil and water. They may be transmitted to or betwen humans through contaminated food or water, sexual contact, or insect bites. There are many different types of protozoal infection, each one causing a different disease depending on the organism that is involved.

Many types of protozoa infect the bowel, causing diarrhoea and generalised symptoms of ill health. Others may infect the genital tract or skin. Some protozoa may penetrate vital organs such as the lungs, brain, and liver. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is important in order to limit the spread of the infections within the body and, in some cases, prevent it from spreading to other people. Increased attention to hygiene is another important factor in controlling the spread of the disease.

A variety of medicines is used in the treatment of these diseases. Some, such as Metronidazole and Tetracycline are also commonly used for their anti-bacterial action. Others, such as Pentamidine are rarely used except in treating specific protozoal infections.

How They Affect You

Protozoa are often difficult to eradicate from the body. Drug treatment may therefore need to be continued for several months in order to eliminate the infecting organisms

completely and thus prevent recurrence of the disease. In addition, unpleasant side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps are often unavoidable because of the limited choice of drugs and the need to maintain dosage levels that will effectively cure the disease.