Treating toxoplasmosis

Most cases of toxoplasmosis are mild and don't require treatment. Either no symptoms develop, or a full recovery is made without complications.

You may need treatment if you're diagnosed with toxoplasmosis and:

  • you have complications of toxoplasmosis , such as vision problems
  • you're pregnant
  • you have a weak immune system

Babies diagnosed with toxoplasmosis before or after they're born (congenital toxoplasmosis)will also need treatment.

Most people will be treated with a combination of medicines called pyrimethamine, sulfadiazineandfolinic acid. These medications usually need to be taken for at least four to sixweeks.Sometimes a medication called azithromycin is given alone instead.

Treating pregnant women

If you're pregnant and developtoxoplasmosis for the first time, you may be treated with an antibiotic called spiramycin until you give birth or tests show your baby is also infected.

It'sthoughtspiramycin may reduce the chance of the infection spreading to your baby, although it's not clear exactly how effective it is. In some cases, the infectionmay spread to your babydespite treatment.

If tests show the infection has already spread to your baby, you'll normally be treated with courses of pyrimethamine plus sulfadiazine, alternating with courses of spiramycin.

Treatingtoxoplasmosis in babies

If your baby is born with congenital toxoplasmosis, he or shewill be examined and have tests to see whether theinfection has caused any damage.

Your baby will usually be treatedwith pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine because this may help reduce the risk of serious or long-term problems. These medications may need to be taken for up to a year.

Unfortunately, these medicines can't undo any damage that has already occurred, so some babies with congenital toxoplasmosis will develop long-termor recurrent problems despite treatment.

Read about the complications oftoxoplasmosis for more information about this.

Treating people with a weak immune system

If you have a weak immune systemfor example, because you have HIV and AIDS or youare taking medication to weaken your immune system after an organ transplantyou may be givenmedications called trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole to prevent the symptoms of toxoplasmosis developing.

This is because the toxoplasmosis parasite remains inactive in the body even if you were infected a long time ago. If your immune system weakens, the parasite can reactivate and cause serious problems.

It may be possible to stop taking these medicines if your immune system recovers.

If you have an active infection, you'll normally be given pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine treatment. These medicines may need to be taken for a few months or more.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016