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A systematic review (SR) of published efficacy studies in visceral leishmaniasis (VL) was undertaken to describe methodological aspects of design, conduct, analysis, and reporting. Studies published during 2000-2021 and indexed in the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory VL library of clinical studies were eligible for inclusion (N = 89 studies). Of the 89 studies, 40 (44.9%) were randomized, 33 (37.1%) were single-armed, 14 (15.7%) were nonrandomized multiarmed studies, and randomization status was unclear in two (2.2%). After initial screening, disease confirmation was done by microscopy in 26 (29.2%) and by a combination of serology and microscopy in 63 (70.8%). Post-treatment follow-up duration was <6 months in three (3.3%) studies, 6 months in 75 (84.3%), and >6 months in 11 (12.4%) studies. Confirmation of relapse was solely based on clinical suspicion in four (4.5%) studies, parasitological demonstration in 64 (71.9%), using molecular/serological/parasitological method in 6 (6.7%), and there was no information in 15 (16.9%). Of the 40 randomized studies, sample size calculation was reported in only 22 (55.0%) studies. This review highlights substantial variations in definitions adopted for disease diagnosis and therapeutic outcomes suggesting a need for a harmonized trials protocol.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Trop Med Hyg

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