The Journal of laryngology and otology

Is halofantrine ototoxic? Experimental study on guinea pig cochlea model.

PMID 20537205


Halofantrine is a newly developed antimalarial drug used for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The introduction of this drug has been delayed because of its possible side effects, and due to insufficient studies on adverse reactions in humans. There have been no studies investigating its effect on hearing. Thirty guinea pigs were divided into three groups: a control group, a halofantrine therapeutic dose group and a halofantrine double therapeutic dose group. One cochlea specimen from each animal was stained with haematoxylin and eosin and the other with toluidine blue. No changes were detected in the control group. The halofantrine therapeutic dose group showed loss and distortion of inner hair cells and inner phalangeal cells, and loss of spiral ganglia cells. In the halofantrine double therapeutic dose group, the inner and outer hair cells were distorted and there was loss of spiral ganglia cells. Halofantrine has mild to moderate pathological effects on cochlea histology, and can be considered an ototoxic drug.

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