‘Eltrombopag’ in dengue treatment; BD researchers find possible success
Published: 12:16 PM, 25 November 2020
Dr. Sajib Chakraborty is experimenting with a medicine called ‘Eltrombopag’; Photo: BBC Bangla
A team of researchers in Bangladesh has seen the possibility of success in the treatment of dengue by applying a medicine called “Eltrombopag”. This medicine was mainly used when to increase the number of platelets enough to decrease the risk of bleeding in people with ITP or aplastic anemia, or to allow treatment with interferon and ribavirin in people with hepatitis C.
The medical journal ‘The Lancet Journal of Clinical Medicine’ published the results of the study on the Eltrombopag for the treatment of dengue on 21 November.
12 researchers and physicians from Bangladesh were associated with the research team. They administered 25 mg of eltrombopag in 101 dengue patients — later tested and saw the success of the drug.
“One of the symptoms of dengue is low blood platelets. But there is a medicine called eltrombopag that increases blood platelets. But it has never been used in dengue. We started research on how it can work in the dengue treatment,” said Dr. Sajib Chakraborty, Associate Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Life Sciences at Dhaka University, who is also one of the researchers of the study.
Novartis, an international pharmaceutical company, developed the drug in 2008 under the name “Eltrombopag”. The medicine was later approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014.
Eltrombopag is mainly used when the platelets are low in liver disease, it also used in other ailments.
Dr. Sajib Chakraborty said, “Since the number of platelets in dengue patients decreases, we have speculated that this medicine may work to increase the platelet count in patients. However, we were not 100% sure. Then we started experimenting with this.”
“We have seen good results in research,” he also said, adding: “About 92% of the dengue patients - who took eltrombopag - had their platelet counts returned to normal in eight days. Of those who were not applied this, only 55% recovered. As a result, most of the patients are recovering after taking this medication.”
About the side effects of the medicine, Dr. Sajib Chakraborty said, “We have also seen whether there is any side effect of the eltrombopag as many platelets can cause damage if they increase. Many times blood can clot. But in the case of patients (this medicine) did not get anything like that. Only 3% of patients had some side effects, such as diarrhea.”
Dr. Chakraborty said it was a second phase test. However, in order to fully confirm the success of this medicine on dengue, it is necessary to conduct human testing on thousands of people in multiple countries in the third phase.
“The drug has not yet been approved in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for the treatment of dengue. But if it succeeds in testing on a larger scale like ours, then surely it will be included in the guidelines for the treatment of dengue,” he said.
Dr. Chakraborty said the study was conducted from October 2019 to February 2020. “The study was funded by a pharmaceutical company called Incepta Pharmaceuticals of Bangladesh,” he added.
Dengue outbreaks are much higher in South Asia and Southeast Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Many people in the region will be benefited if effective and successful medicines for the treatment of dengue are identified.
Source: BBC Bangla