Sodium Stibogluconate


For the treatment of various types of a protozoal infection called leishmaniasis, which may result from sandfly bites in tropical and temperate parts of the world. Also investigated for use or treatment in cancer/tumors (unspecified) and solid tumors


The mode of action of sodium stibogluconate is not clearly understood. In vitro exposure of amastigotes to 500 mg pentavalent antimony/ml results in a greater than 50% decrease in parasite DNA, RNA protein and purine nucleoside triphosphate levels. It has been postulated that the reduction in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and GTP (guanosine triphosphate) synthesis contributes to decreased macromolecular synthesis.

Dosage & Administration

Leishmaniasis: 20 mg/kg/day (maximum 850 mg) intramuscularly or intravenously for 20 to 28 days.


Hypersensitivity, significant renal impairment, breast feeding

Side Effects

Sodium stibogluconate is exceedingly toxic to veins. One of the practical problems is that after a few doses it can become exceedingly difficult to find a vein in which to inject the drug. The insertion of a PICC does not prevent the problem and can instead exacerbate it: the entire vein along the course of the PICC line can become inflamed and thrombose. Large doses of sodium stibogluconate are often administered as dilute solutions.

Pancreatitis is a common deleterious effect of the drug, and the serum amylase or lipase should be monitored twice weekly; there is no need to stop treatment if the amylase remains less than four times the upper limit of normal; if the amylase rises above the cut-off, then treatment should be interrupted until the amylase falls to less than twice the upper limit of normal, whereupon treatment can be resumed. Cardiac conduction disturbances are less common, but ECG monitoring while the medicine is injected is advisable and changes quickly reverse after the drug is stopped or the infusion rate is decreased.

The drug can be given intramuscularly but is exceedingly painful when given by this route. It can also be given intralesionally when treating cutaneous leishmaniasis (i.e., injected directly into the area of infected skin) and again, this is exceedingly painful and does not give results superior to intravenous administration.

Sodium stibogluconate can also cause a reduced appetite, metallic taste in mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, tiredness, joint pains, muscle aches, dizziness, and anaphylaxis.

Pregnancy & Lactation

Pregnancy category is not classified.

Therapeutic Class


Available Brand Names

No brand names available