Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most prevalent form of the disease caused by the parasites Leishmania. However, effective topical treatments for the disease are lacking. Fluconazole (FLZ) is an antifungal agent that inhibits a key enzyme for the production of ergosterol, the main sterol in membranes of fungi and parasites. An in vitro evaluation of antileishmanial activity of a microemulsion intended for topical use, with FLZ as active pharmaceutical ingredient, was performed.
The formulation effectively inhibited L. braziliensis promastigotes growth. This study provides baseline data about the efficacy of FLZ microemulsion on L. braziliensis promastigotes. Previous reports had shown poor activity of the drug, so this result highlighted the role of the vehicle.
Although further work is needed, this semisolid dosage form could be useful for the local treatment of CL in the New World. It is also interesting to mention the importance of repositioning well-known drugs for new uses to offer treatments more quickly, particularly for this disease that greatly affects public health of poor regions.