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Side Effects
Serious

Neutropenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and hepatitis can occur during prolonged therapy, but are reversible by discontinuing the drug. If fever, sore throat, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, skin rash, or itching occur, call your doctor immediately.
Common

No common side effects are associated with albendazole.
Less Common

Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stomach upset, diarrhea, headache. Alopecia (thinning or loss of hair), a rare side effect, can occur, but is reversible by stopping the drug.
Albendazole


Drug Class:
Anthelmintic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Tablets

Why Prescribed
To treat hydatid disease and neurocysticercosis. Hydatid disease is a parasitic infection, usually of the liver, caused by echinococcus (dog tapeworm) larvae. Humans can become infected through ingestion of tapeworm eggs in dog feces. Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infection of the nervous system, caused by taenia solium (pork tapeworm) larvae. It can be contracted by ingesting egg-containing feces from an infected person, owing to food mishandling. Albendazole may be used to treat a variety of other roundworm infections and may be useful in treating a type of intestinal protozoan common in AIDS patients, but it is not licensed for such uses in the United States.

How It Works
Albendazole interferes with various energy-producing processes of helminths (worms), including impairing the uptake of glucose (sugar) for energy.

Range and Frequency
For hydatid disease-- Patients weighing more than 132 lbs (60 kg): one cycle consisting of 400 mg twice a day for 28 days followed by a 14-day albendazole-free period; repeat for at least three cycles. Patients weighing less than 132 lbs (60 kg): one cycle consisting of 7.5 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight twice a day for 28 days followed by a 14-day albendazole-free period; repeat for at least three cycles. For neurocysticercosis-- Patients weighing more than 132 lbs (60 kg): 400 mg twice a day for eight to 30 days. Patients weighing less than 132 lbs (60 kg): 7.5 mg per 2.2 lbs twice a day for eight to 30 days. Corticosteroids are often administered concurrently for therapy of neurocysticercosis to control the inflammation caused by dying larvae.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Take it with meals high in fat content to help the body better absorb the drug.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy. The decision to stop taking the drug should be made by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
See your doctor regularly for tests and examinations every two weeks if you must take this medicine for a prolonged period of time.

Over 60
No studies have been done specifically on older patients; adverse reactions may be more likely or more severe.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Pregnant women should not use albendazole except when no other alternative is available. Discuss with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using this drug while pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Albendazole may pass into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children
No special problems are expected.

Overdose Symptoms
No cases of overdose have been reported.

What to Do
If someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed, call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center right away.

Drug Interactions
Other drugs may interact with albendazole. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking dexamethasone, praziquantel, cimetidine, theophylline, or any other prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Dosage may need to be adjusted in patients with cirrhosis. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you have any other medical condition.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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