Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Doxycycline appears to have potential in lowering nodding syndrome-related fatalities and seizures

By Parvathy Sukumaran Jun 9, 2024 #seizures
The findings were published in Lancet Global Health. 

Nodding syndrome is a neurological disorder that results in life-threatening seizures as well as severe and incapacitating physical and mental problems. The disease primarily affects youth in certain places of East Africa.

According to a recent study, using doxycycline for a course of time may reduce hospitalisations for acute seizures and nodding syndrome-related mortality.

Current studies on the causes of nodding syndrome have connected it to parasite infection, which causes onchocerciasis, or river blindness.

In depth

Dr. Richard Idro collaborated with colleagues in Uganda, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the National Institutes of Health in the USA, the University of Oxford, the Ministry of Health in Uganda, and colleagues in Uganda to validate this discovery. They investigated whether patients with nodding syndrome might benefit from a course of doxycycline, a medication that treats onchocerciasis.

The findings, which were published in Lancet Global Health.

It demonstrated that doxycycline can significantly lower antibodies to the parasite that causes onchocerciasis and prevent infection-induced severe seizures in nodding syndrome patients. According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Richard Idro, fever-causing infections can be prevented with antibiotic prophylaxis, which can significantly lower hospitalisations and deaths associated with nodding syndrome. The study also confirms the link between infection by the filarial worm Onchocerca volvulus and fever.

Take away

The study’s co-author, LSTM professor Mark Taylor, pioneered the use of doxycycline treatment to treat onchocerciasis. He claimed that this study shows yet another advantage of treating onchocerciasis with doxycycline therapy. While the cause of nodding syndrome remains unclear, our research adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that treating onchocerciasis benefits persons who have the illness and has extra advantages by lowering the number of hospitalisations and fatalities linked to nodding syndrome.

The team said it is imperative that those who have nodding syndrome be provided access to doxycycline, as we now know that the medication can reduce the seizures linked to the condition.

In order to develop more effective therapies and perhaps even a means of preventing this crippling illness completely, scientists also need to step up their efforts to identify its root cause.

By Parvathy Sukumaran

Parvathy Sukumaran is a Content Creator and Editor at JustCare Health. She is an Educator and a Language Lecturer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education and an M.A in English Literature. She is passionate about writing, archaeology, music and cooking.

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