, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 299-302

Alveolar Echinococcosis of the Liver in an Adult with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Infection

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We describe a patient with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) infection and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) with a focus on two messages.

Despite being severely immunocompromised over years the patient exhibited a long-term asymptomatic course of AE. This is in clear contrast to reports describing accelerated courses of AE in immunocompromised patients.

The patient had therapeutic mebendazole drug levels with only 1/10 of the normal drug dose. He was co-treated with protease inhibitors for his HIV infection. These drugs are known as strong inhibitors of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4)-dependent metabolism. We speculate that benzimidazoles and protease inhibitors interfere at the CYP3A4-level.

The first report of co-infection of HIV and accelerated AE was in a young girl with an extremely low CD4 cell count and an abrogated lymphoproliferative responsiveness to parasite antigen stimulation. Since the CD4 cell count in our patient remained in the range of 27–150 cells/µl, we speculate that there was a critical threshold of immunosupression for constraining AE. Initial treatment with albendazole for AE added to the current highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), and suppressive toxoplasmosis therapy became complicated by pancytopenia. After full recovery of the bone marrow, mebendazole was introduced with a new HAART and the previously prescribed toxoplasmosis maintenance therapy. Surprisingly, efficient mebendazole levels were achieved with an uncommonly low dose. These observations suggest that the benzimidazoles, albendazole and mebendazole, may interact with protease inhibitors, which are known for their strong inhibition of the CYP3A4.