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What is Albenza (albendazole)?
- cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum, caused by dog tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) larvae;
- and parenchymal neurocysticercosis due to active lesion caused by pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) larvae.
Albenza is also used off-label to treat other parasitic infections including:
- Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm),
- Trichinella spiralis (pork worm),
- Trichuris trichiura (whipworm),
- Enterobius vermicularis (pinworm),
- Strongyloides stercoralis (threadworm),
- Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm),
- Ancylostoma duodenale (hookworm),
- and Necator americanus (hookworm).
Common side effects of Albenza include:
- liver problems,
- stomach pain,
- increased intracranial pressure,
- meningeal signs,
- reversible hair loss or thinning,
- and fever.
Serious side effects of Albenza include:
- blood disorders (decrease in red blood cells and platelets),
- allergic reactions,
- aplastic anemia,
- bone marrow suppression,
- decrease in white blood count,
- acute liver failure,
- increase in liver enzymes,
- severe skin rashes such as Steven-Johnson's syndrome,
- and acute kidney failure.
Drug interactions of Albenza include:
There are no adequate clinical trials of Albenza administration during pregnancy. Albenza should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit of treatment justifies the potential risk to the fetus. It is unknown if Albenza is excreted in human milk. Due to the lack of safety data, Albenza should be used cautiously during breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Albenza (albendazole)?
Side effects which occurred with a frequency of = 1% include:
- liver problems,
- stomach pain,
- increased intracranial pressure,
- meningeal signs,
- reversible hair loss or thinning, and
Side effects which occurred with a frequency of <1% include:
Other side effects of undefined frequency include:
Albenza (albendazole) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
The adverse reaction profile of Albenza differs between hydatid disease and neurocysticercosis. Adverse reactions occurring with a frequency of 1% or greater in either disease are described in Table 2 below.
These symptoms were usually mild and resolved without treatment. Treatment discontinuations were predominantly due to leukopenia (0.7%) or hepatic abnormalities (3.8% in hydatid disease). The following incidence reflects adverse reactions that were reported to be at least possibly or probably related to Albenza.
Table 2: Adverse Reaction Incidence 1% or Greater in Hydatid Disease and Neurocysticercosis
|Adverse Reaction||Hydatid Disease||Neurocysticercosis|
|General disorders and administration site conditions|
|Elevated Hepatic Enzymes||16||less than 1|
|Nervous system disorders|
|Dizziness||1||less than 1|
|Raised Intracranial Pressure||0||2|
|Vertigo||1||less than 1|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders|
|Reversible Alopecia||2||less than 1|
The following adverse events were observed at an incidence of less than 1%:
Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: There have been reports of leukopenia, granulocytopenia, pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, or thrombocytopenia.
Immune System Disorders: Hypersensitivity reactions, including rash and urticaria.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of Albenza. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: Aplastic anemia, bone marrow suppression, neutropenia.
Eye Disorders: Vision blurred.
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Diarrhea.
General System Disorders: Asthenia.
Hepatobiliary Disorders: Elevations of hepatic enzymes, hepatitis, acute liver failure.
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: Rhabdomyolysis.
Nervous System Disorders: Somnolence, convulsion.
Renal and Urinary Disorders: Acute renal failure.
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders: Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
What drugs interact with Albenza (albendazole)?
Steady-state trough concentrations of albendazole sulfoxide were about 56% higher when 8 mg dexamethasone was co-administered with each dose of albendazole (15 mg/kg/day) in 8 neurocysticercosis patients.
In the fed state, praziquantel (40 mg/kg) increased mean maximum plasma concentration and area under the curve of albendazole sulfoxide by about 50% in healthy subjects (n = 10) compared with a separate group of subjects (n = 6) given albendazole alone. Mean Tmax and mean plasma elimination half-life of albendazole sulfoxide were unchanged. The pharmacokinetics of praziquantel were unchanged following co-administration with albendazole (400 mg).
Albendazole sulfoxide concentrations in bile and cystic fluid were increased (about 2-fold) in hydatid cyst patients treated with cimetidine (10 mg/kg/day) (n = 7) compared with albendazole (20 mg/kg/day) alone (n = 12). Albendazole sulfoxide plasma concentrations were unchanged 4 hours after dosing.
Following a single dose of albendazole (400 mg), the pharmacokinetics of theophylline (aminophylline 5.8 mg/kg infused over 20 minutes) were unchanged. Albendazole induces cytochrome P450 1A in human hepatoma cells; therefore, it is recommended that plasma concentrations of theophylline be monitored during and after treatment.
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Related Disease Conditions
Pinworms (Enterobiasis) in Kids and Adults
Pinworm infection is an intestinal infection caused by a pinworm, seatworm, or threadworm. Female pinworms leave the intestine through the ankus and deposit eggs on the skin around the anus while a person is asleep. Pinworm infection is the most common worm infection in the U.S. Symptoms include anal itching or vaginal itching. Pinworm infection is generally spread by inadequate handwashing from infected persons. Treatment is effective after a diagnosis is made with a pinworm test.
The term "ringworm" refers to a fungal infection on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation of skin scrapings under the microscope, and culture tests can help doctors make the appropriate distinctions. A proper diagnosis is essential to successful treatment. The different types of ringworm include the following: tinea barbae, tinea capitis, tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea faciei, tinea manus, tinea pedis, and tinea unguium.
Is Ringworm Contagious?
A fungus causes ringworm. Ringworm can be transmitted from person to person. Animals may also spread ringworm. Ringworm causes an itchy, ring-shaped red rash with hair loss. Treatment incorporates the use of topical medication.
Trichinosis Worm Infection
Trichinosis is a food-borne disease caused by ingesting parasites (roundworms) in undercooked pork or wild-game meat. Symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, itching, fever, chills, and joint pains.Trichinosis usually resolves without treatment, but more severe cases are treated with thiabendazole (Mintezol), albendazole (Abenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
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Cysticercosis (Pork Tapeworm Infection)
Cysticercosis is an infection caused by Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm. Symptoms include seizures, lethargy, nausea and vomiting, headache, vision changes, weakness, and confusion. Treatment depends upon the individual's symptoms and the stage of the infection. Treatment may incorporate anthelmintics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and/or surgery.
Ringworm vs. Eczema
While ringworm is a fungal infection, and eczema is a skin condition, both are characterized by itchiness. Eczema patches are leathery while ringworm involves ring formation on the skin. Over-the-counter antifungals treat ringworm. Topical creams and ointments treat eczema.
Guinea Worm Disease
Guinea worm disease (GWD or dracunculiasis) is an infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. After a person drinks water contaminated by water fleas that harbor Guinea worm larvae, the larvae grow into adult worms (2-3 feet) in the small intestine and then migrate and emerge from the skin. Symptoms and signs include fever, swelling, and pain near the blister on the skin where the worm will emerge. As there is no medication to treat GWD and no vaccine to prevent infection, treatment focuses on minimizing pain and swelling (with the use of ibuprofen or aspirin) as the worms are slowly pulled from the wound over the course of a few days to a few months.
Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis)
Rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) is a parasite that infects rats. The parasite can infect people if ingested by eating undercooked or raw infected snails or slugs. Though rat lungworm often causes no signs and symptoms, the parasite can cause eosinophlic meningitis in some. Stiff neck, headach, vomiting, nausea, and fever are symptoms of eosinophilic meningitis. Treatment is usually unnecessary. For more severe infections, treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms.
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.