Is nitazoxanide (NTZ)- a real game changer for Lyme patients?
Written by: Wojciech Piotr Ozimek, independent lecturer and researcher specialized in parasitic and vector-borne diseases. Used with permission.
Nitazoxanide, a thiazolide compound, and its desacetyl derivative, tizoxanide, have antimicrobial properties against protozoa, cestodes, nematodes, trematodes, bacteria and viruses.
A retrospective review of charts of patients treated with nitazoxanide for infections caused by giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium parvum, blastocystis hominis, entamoeba histolytica, cyclospora, isospora and babesia caused infections demonstrated it’s high efficacy.
Unfortunately most of the studies showed that nitazoxanide is rather ineffective for the treatment of trichomoniasis.
Because the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection may be jeopardized by metronidazole resistance, nitazoxanide and tizoxanide were tested in vitro and in vivo studies. Conclusions? It may be used as a single agent in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori and other Campylobacter sp. caused infections. It is also effective against Clostridium difficile caused infections.
There has been a study that claims there is some limited evidence for efficacy for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) in the context of an open label study, but no systematic review and all claims should be taken lightly.
Development of resistance to the two main classes of drugs used to treat intestinal nematode infections of humans has been reported. We need new and more effective drugs and ways to improve the efficacy of the old drugs. And again the promising alternative drug is nitazoxanide (NTZ). NTZ shown to have therapeutic activity against nematode (ascaris), cestode (taenia, hymenolepsis) and trematode (fasciola) infections. In addition NTZ combines synergistically with other classes of anthelmintic drugs, i.e. albendazole and pyrantel, making it a good candidate for further studies on its use in drug combination therapy of parasitic infections.
Lateef et al.. conducted a study in India that evaluated the effectiveness of nitazoxanide in the treatment of beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata) infection. They concluded that nitazoxanide is a well-tolerated drug for the treatment of niclosamide- and praziquantel-resistant beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata) infection.
It is also considered to be a “cyst busting” drug by some researchers, so can theoretically impact Borrelia, too. For these reasons, it is one of my favorite drugs, and in my opinion it should have a broader application for Lyme disease patients.
As if the above-mentioned benefits of nitazoxanide weren’t enough for some skeptics, the drug also impacts biofilm formation. This was shown by research published in Oxford’s Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, in a study entitled, “Nitazoxanide inhibits biofilm formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis by blocking accumulation on surfaces.” Several other studies also demonstrate nitazoxanide’s inhibition of biofilm forming.
And lastly, nitazoxanide has even been shown to inhibit numerous viruses, including hepatitis B and C viruses, rotavirus and influenza A virus (in vitro).
To summarize, nitazoxanide can be used to kill protozoa, cestodes, nematodes, trematodes, bacteriae (incl. cysts & biofilm forms) and viruses.
It’s no wonder that Lyme patients, who are often afflicted with many of mentioned above infections, can feel so much better as a result of using nitazoxanide.
Nitazoxanide should be one of the most multi-talented and broadly applicable drugs available to Lyme sufferers, and I consider it to be one of the most important medicines presented in the last years.
Nitazoxanide is an effective, inexpensive, and generally safe and well tolerated medicine. In the clinical trials no serious adverse events were reported. Adverse events occur in less than 1% of the patients but physician monitoring is still advisable.
Nitazoxanide is sold under the brand names Nizonide, Nitaxide, Nitax, Zox, Netazox, Niazid, Toza, Daxon, Dexidex, Kidonax, Mitafar, Pacovanton, Paramix, Alinia, Adonid, NT-TOX, Nitamax,and Annita.