albendazole

Pronunciation

Generic Name: albendazole (al BEN da zole)
Brand Name: Albenza

What is albendazole?

Albendazole is an anthelmintic (an-thel-MIN-tik) or anti- worm medication. It prevents newly hatched insect larvae (worms) from growing or multiplying in your body.

Albendazole is used to treat certain infections caused by worms such as pork tapeworm and dog tapeworm.

Albendazole may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about albendazole?

Albendazole should not be used during pregnancy, unless there is no alternate treatment. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking albendazole?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to albendazole, or to similar drugs such as mebendazole (Vermox).

To make sure albendazole is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease; or

  • bone marrow suppression.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Albendazole should not be used during pregnancy, unless there is no alternate treatment. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine and for at least 1 month after your treatment ends.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

It is not known whether albendazole passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take albendazole?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take with food.

In a young child (or anyone who is unable to swallow a whole albendazole tablet), the tablet should be crushed or chewed and swallowed with a full glass of water.

You may be given other medicines to prevent certain side effects of albendazole, or certain effects that can result when the parasites die within your body.

Tell your doctor if you have any changes in weight. Albendazole doses are based on weight.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Albendazole will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

Albendazole can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often. You will need frequent blood tests (every 2 weeks) to check your liver function.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking albendazole?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Albendazole side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • signs of bone marrow suppression--sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing, easy bruising or bleeding; or

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • headache; or

  • temporary hair loss.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Albendazole dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hydatid Disease:

Cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum due to Echinococcus granulosus:
60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals
Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day with meals (maximum dose: 800 mg/day)

Duration: 28-day cycle followed by a 14-day albendazole-free interval, for a total of 3 cycles

When administering albendazole in the presurgical or postsurgical setting, optimal killing of cyst contents is achieved when 3 courses of therapy have been given.

Usual Adult Dose for Neurocysticercosis:

Parenchymal neurocysticercosis:
60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals
Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day with meals (maximum dose: 800 mg/day)

Duration: 8 to 30 days

Usual Adult Dose for Cutaneous Larva Migrans:

400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Case Report (4)
400 mg orally twice a day for 3 days; in some of the reports therapy was continued for 5 days

Usual Adult Dose for Ascariasis:

400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Adult Dose for Trichostrongylosis:

400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Adult Dose for Pinworm Infection (Enterobius vermicularis):

400 mg orally once as a single dose; may repeat in 2 weeks

Some clinicians recommend all household contacts of patients with enterobiasis receive treatment, especially when multiple or repeated symptomatic infections occur, since such contacts commonly also are infected.

Usual Adult Dose for Filariasis:

Due to Mansonella perstans: 400 mg orally twice a day for 10 days

Usual Adult Dose for Hookworm Infection (Necator or Ancylostoma):

Intestinal infections due to A duodenal or N americanus: 400 mg orally once as a single dose; stool examination for eggs should be repeated 2 weeks after treatment and dose should be repeated if positive

Eosinophilic enterocolitis due to A caninum: 400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Adult Dose for Visceral Larva Migrans (Toxicariasis):

400 mg orally twice a day for 5 days; however, optimum duration is unknown and some clinicians recommend treatment for up to 20 days

Usual Adult Dose for Strongyloidiasis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 2 days; may be necessary to repeat or prolong treatment or use other agents in immunocompromised patients or patients with disseminated disease

Usual Adult Dose for Trichinosis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 14 days

Usual Adult Dose for Whipworm Infection (Trichuris trichiura):

400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Usual Adult Dose for Capillariasis:

400 mg orally once a day for 10 days

Usual Adult Dose for Gnathostomiasis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Usual Adult Dose for Clornorchis sinensis (Liver Fluke):

10 mg/kg orally once a day for 7 days

Usual Adult Dose for Giardiasis:

400 mg orally once a day for 5 days; may be given alone or in combination with metronidazole

Usual Adult Dose for Cysticercus cellulosae (Cysticercosis):

400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 30 days; may repeat as necessary

Usual Adult Dose for Echinococcus Infection:

E granulosus: 400 mg orally twice a day for 1 to 6 months

Usual Adult Dose for Microsporidiosis:

Disseminated: 400 mg orally twice a day
Intestinal: 400 mg orally twice a day for 21 days
Ocular: 400 mg orally twice a day in combination with fumagillin (not commercially available in the US)

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hydatid Disease:

Cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum due to Echinococcus granulosus:
60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals
Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day with meals (maximum dose: 800 mg/day)

Duration: 28-day cycle followed by a 14-day albendazole-free interval, for a total of 3 cycles

When administering albendazole in the presurgical or postsurgical setting, optimal killing of cyst contents is achieved when 3 courses of therapy have been given.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Neurocysticercosis:

Parenchymal neurocysticercosis:
60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals
Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day with meals (maximum dose: 800 mg/day)

Duration: 8 to 30 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Capillariasis:

400 mg orally once a day for 10 days

Case Reports (n=2)
Greater than 18 months: 400 mg per day for 21 days, up to 100 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Cutaneous Larva Migrans:

400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Case Report (n=1)
11 months: 2.5 mL (suspension: 200 mg/5 mL) orally twice a day for 3 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Cysticercus cellulosae (Cysticercosis):

15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day for 8 to 30 days; may repeat as necessary
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

Usual Pediatric Dose for Echinococcus Infection:

E granulosus: 15 mg/kg/day orally, given in divided doses twice a day for 1 to 6 months
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

Usual Pediatric Dose for Ascariasis:

400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Pediatric Dose for Trichostrongylosis:

400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pinworm Infection (Enterobius vermicularis):

400 mg orally once as a single dose; may repeat in 2 weeks

Some clinicians recommend all household contacts of patients with enterobiasis receive treatment, especially when multiple or repeated symptomatic infections occur, since such contacts commonly also are infected.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Filariasis:

Due to Mansonella perstans: 400 mg orally twice a day for 10 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hookworm Infection (Necator or Ancylostoma):

Intestinal infections due to A duodenal or N americanus: 400 mg orally once as a single dose; stool examination for eggs should be repeated 2 weeks after treatment and dose should be repeated if positive

Eosinophilic enterocolitis due to A caninum: 400 mg orally once as a single dose

Usual Pediatric Dose for Visceral Larva Migrans (Toxicariasis):

400 mg orally twice a day for 5 days; however, optimum duration is unknown and some clinicians recommend treatment for up to 20 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Strongyloidiasis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 2 days; may be necessary to repeat or prolong treatment or use other agents in immunocompromised patients or patients with disseminated disease

Usual Pediatric Dose for Trichinosis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 14 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Whipworm Infection (Trichuris trichiura):

400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Gnathostomiasis:

400 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Clornorchis sinensis (Liver Fluke):

10 mg/kg orally once a day for 7 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Giardiasis:

400 mg orally once a day for 5 days; may be given alone or in combination with metronidazole

What other drugs will affect albendazole?

Other drugs may interact with albendazole, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about albendazole.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2014-04-02, 9:07:58 AM.

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