Leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis are challenges among neglected tropical diseases. They usually affect marginal and poor populations and have the potential of becoming lethal. Current treatment for both diseases is based on chemotherapy, with the drug of choice being pentavalent antimonials for leishmaniasis, while for Chagas disease the two nitro-heterocyclic drugs, Benznidazole and Nifurtimox are recommended. The limited number, low efficacy, and side effects of conventional anti-Leishmania and anti-Trypanosomal drugs and the resistance developed by parasites are the major factors responsible for the growth in mortality rates. Currently there is an urgent need to develop effective, safe, cost-effective drugs, and new treatment schemes, as well as vaccines. As a result, international health organizations, universities, foundations, and pharmaceutical corporations are working together to support analysis and development of new strategies for controlling these diseases.
Keywords: Benznidazole, Chagas disease, Chemotherapy, Clinical trials, Drug development, Drug repurposing, Drug resistance, Glucantime, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania spp., Medicinal chemistry, Neglected disease, New pharmaceuticals, New treatment schemes, Pentavalent antimonials, Pentostam, Side effects, Treatment, Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosomatids.