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August 8, 2001

Studies say drug treats water-related illness

TAMPA, FL -- Two studies published in two issues of the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID) report the use of nitazoxanide is effective for treating lethal protozoal diarrhea that is contracted through contaminated water.

The studies, conducted by scientists from the Romark Institute for Medical Research, demonstrated that a three-day treatment with nitazoxanide was effective in treating diarrheal diseases caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia intestinalis and Entamoeba histolytica.

Protozian infections are normally contracted from contaminated water and can cause persistent diarrhea that can lead to more serious complications, especially in children and the elderly with weakened immune systems, according to Dr. Jean-Francois Rossignol, chairman and chief science officer of the Romark Institute for Medical Research.

Infectious diarrheal diseases caused by protozoa, bacteria and viruses are the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world, according to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

That journal said an estimated 211 to 375 million episodes of diarrheal illness occur annually in the United States alone, resulting in 73 million physician consultations, 1.8 million hospitalizations and 3,100 deaths. Worldwide, there are 3.1 million deaths associated with diarrhea each year, more than 8,400 per day, mostly among children in developing countries, according to Clinical Infectious Diseases

Marc Ayers, president of Romark Laboratories, the pharmaceutical company developing nitazoxanide, said it is the first new drug to be developed for treating protozoal diarrhea in about 30 years.

Nitazoxanide is currently marketed in most of Latin America as a three-day treatment of a wide range of protozoan and helminth infections. Romark Laboratories is seeking regulatory approval to market the drug for treatment of diarrhea caused by intestinal protozoan infections in the rest of the world.

Romark Laboratories is a privately owned research-based pharmaceutical company that discovers and develops new drugs for treating infectious diseases.

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