Background: Giardia duodenalis is among the commonest protozoan parasites in the intestinal tract of humans and may cause significant morbidity worldwide. Although there are several antigiardial agents, treatment failures have been commonly reported.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of chloroquine (CQ) versus metronidazole (MTZ) in the treatment of children with confirmed G duodenalis mono-infection.
Methods: A randomized, controlled, open-label trial was carried out at the Cuban Institute of Gastroenterology. One hundred and twenty-two children were randomly assigned to receive either CQ (10 mg/Kg bodyweight twice a day for five days) or MTZ [15 mg/Kg bodyweight divided in three daily does for five days]. All children were asked to provide three faecal samples on days 3, 5 and 7 after treatment completion. Children were considered to be cured, if no Giardia trophozoites or cysts were found in any of the three post-treatment faecal specimens evaluated by direct wet mounts and/or after Ritchie concentration techniques.
Results: The frequency of cure was a little higher for CQ than for MTZ but the difference was not statistically significant. Headache was more common in patients treated with CQ as was bitter taste. Yellowish colouration of the urine was more frequent in the MTZ treated group.
Conclusion: Chloroquine, for five days, is as efficacious as the recommended treatment with MTZ in children infected with G duodenalis.