What is Albenza (albendazole)?

Albenza (albendazole) is used to treat parasitic infections including:

  • 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:

Serious side effects of Albenza include:

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:

Side effects which occurred with a frequency of <1% include:

  • blood disorders (decrease in red blood cells and platelets),
  • allergic reactions,
  • rash, and
  • itching.

Other side effects of undefined frequency include:

  • aplastic anemia,
  • bone marrow suppression,
  • decrease in white blood count,
  • acute liver failure,
  • hepatitis, increase in liver enzymes,
  • severe skin rashes such as Steven-Johnson's syndrome, and
  • acute kidney failure.

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 ReactionHydatid DiseaseNeurocysticercosis
Gastrointestinal
Abdominal Pain60
Nausea46
Vomiting46
General disorders and administration site conditions
Fever10
Investigations
Elevated Hepatic Enzymes16less than 1
Nervous system disorders
Dizziness1less than 1
Headache111
Meningeal Signs01
Raised Intracranial Pressure02
Vertigo1less than 1
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Reversible Alopecia2less 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.

Postmarketing Experience

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)?

Dexamethasone

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.

Praziquantel

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).

Cimetidine

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.

Theophylline

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.

Treatment & Diagnosis

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Medically Reviewed on 3/19/2020
References
FDA Prescribing Information