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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.

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.

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 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:

Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day with meals
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals

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

Use: For the treatment of cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum due to the larval form of Echinococcus granulosus

Usual Adult Dose for Neurocysticercosis:

Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day with meals
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals

Duration of therapy: 8 to 30 days

Comments:
-Patients should receive appropriate steroid and anticonvulsant therapy as needed.
-Oral or IV corticosteroids should be considered to prevent cerebral hypertensive episodes during the first week of therapy.

Use: For the treatment of parenchymal neurocysticercosis due to active lesions caused by larval forms of Taenia solium

Usual Adult Dose for Cutaneous Larva Migrans:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally once a day for 3 to 7 days

Case Report (4)
400 mg orally twice a day for 3 to 5 days

Usual Adult Dose for Ascariasis:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Usual Adult Dose for Pinworm Infection (Enterobius vermicularis):

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally as a single dose; repeat in 2 weeks

Comments: Some clinicians recommend all household contacts of infected patients receive treatment, especially when multiple or repeated symptomatic infections occur, since such contacts commonly also are infected; retreatment after 14 to 21 days may be needed.

Usual Adult Dose for Filariasis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day for 10 days

Comments: Recommended for infection due to Mansonella perstans

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

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Comments: Recommended for infection due to Ancylostoma duodenal or Necator americanus

Usual Adult Dose for Enterocolitis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Comments: Recommended for eosinophilic enterocolitis due to A caninum

Usual Adult Dose for Visceral Larva Migrans (Toxicariasis):

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 5 days

Comments:
-Recommended for visceral toxocariasis
-Optimum duration of therapy is unknown; some clinicians recommend 20 days of therapy.

Usual Adult Dose for Strongyloidiasis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day for 7 days

Comments:
-Recommended as alternative therapy
-May be necessary to repeat or prolong therapy or use other agents in immunocompromised patients or patients with disseminated disease

Usual Adult Dose for Trichinosis:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 14 days

Usual Adult Dose for Trichostrongylosis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Comments: Recommended as an alternative therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Whipworm Infection (Trichuris trichiura):

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Usual Adult Dose for Capillariasis:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally once a day for 10 days

Comments: Recommended as alternative therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Gnathostomiasis:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Comments: Recommended for cutaneous symptoms

Usual Adult Dose for Clornorchis sinensis (Liver Fluke):

US CDC recommendations: 10 mg/kg/day orally for 7 days

Comments: Recommended as alternative therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Cysticercus cellulosae (Cysticercosis):

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 30 days

Comments:
-May repeat as necessary
-Therapy for at least 30 days recommended in patients with subarachnoid cysts or giant cysts in the fissures.
-Surgical intervention (especially neuroendoscopic removal) or CSF diversion followed by treatment with this drug and steroids recommended for obstructive hydrocephalus.
-With prednisone or dexamethasone, recommended for arachnoiditis, vasculitis, or cerebral edema

Usual Adult Dose for Echinococcus Infection:

US CDC recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 1 to 6 months

Comments:
-Recommended for cystic echinococcosis in patients with small cysts or multiple cysts in several organs; treatment depends on the WHO classification of the cysts; this drug is not appropriate for all forms of the infection.
-This drug has been administered before surgery to facilitate safe surgical manipulation of cysts by inactivating protoscolices, altering cyst membrane integrity, and reducing cyst turgidity.

Usual Adult Dose for Loiasis:

US CDC recommendations: 200 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Comments:
-Recommended for symptomatic infection with microfilariae of Loa loa/mL less than 8000 and 2 rounds of diethylcarbamazine failed; or recommended for symptomatic loiasis with microfilariae of L loa/mL at least 8000 to reduce level to less than 8000 before diethylcarbamazine therapy
-Treatment of this infection is complex; experts with experience treating this disease and preventing complications of therapy should be consulted.

Usual Adult Dose for Microsporidiosis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-Recommended for disseminated infection due to Encephalitozoon hellem, E cuniculi, E intestinalis, Pleistophora species, Trachipleistophora species, or Anncaliia vesicularum
-Recommended for intestinal infection due to E intestinalis; duration of therapy is 21 days
-With fumagillin, recommended for ocular infection due to E hellem, E cuniculi, or Vittaforma corneae

US CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (HIVMA/IDSA) recommendations for HIV-infected patients: 400 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-Recommended as preferred therapy (including treatment and secondary prophylaxis)
-Recommended for intestinal and disseminated (not ocular) infection due to Microsporidia other than Enterocytozoon bieneusi and V corneae
-With fumagillin, recommended for ocular infection for management of systemic infection

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hydatid Disease:

Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day with meals
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals

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

Comments: Hydatid disease is uncommon in infants and young children.

Use: For the treatment of cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum due to the larval form of E granulosus

Usual Pediatric Dose for Neurocysticercosis:

Less than 60 kg: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day with meals
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

60 kg or more: 400 mg orally twice a day with meals

Duration of therapy: 8 to 30 days

Comments:
-Patients should receive appropriate steroid and anticonvulsant therapy as needed.
-Oral or IV corticosteroids should be considered to prevent cerebral hypertensive episodes during the first week of therapy.

Use: For the treatment of parenchymal neurocysticercosis due to active lesions caused by larval forms of T solium

Usual Pediatric Dose for Capillariasis:

US CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations: 400 mg orally once a day for 10 days

Comments: Recommended as alternative therapy

Case Reports of Hepatic Capillariasis (n=2)
At least 18 months: 400 mg/day for 21 days, up to 100 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Cutaneous Larva Migrans:

US CDC and AAP recommendations:
Older than 2 years: 400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Comments (US CDC): This drug is contraindicated in children younger than 2 years; may use topical agents in such patients

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):

Some experts recommend: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day
Duration of therapy: 8 to 30 days

Comments:
-May repeat as necessary
-Therapy for at least 30 days recommended in patients with subarachnoid cysts or giant cysts in the fissures.
-Surgical intervention (especially neuroendoscopic removal) or CSF diversion followed by treatment with this drug and steroids recommended for obstructive hydrocephalus.
-With prednisone or dexamethasone, recommended for arachnoiditis, vasculitis, or cerebral edema

Usual Pediatric Dose for Echinococcus Infection:

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 10 to 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day
Duration of therapy: 1 to 6 months

Comments:
-Recommended for cystic echinococcosis in patients with small cysts or multiple cysts in several organs; treatment depends on the WHO classification of the cysts; this drug is not appropriate for all forms of the infection.
-This drug has been administered before surgery to facilitate safe surgical manipulation of cysts by inactivating protoscolices, altering cyst membrane integrity, and reducing cyst turgidity.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Ascariasis:

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pinworm Infection (Enterobius vermicularis):

AAP recommendations:
-Children less than 20 kg: 200 mg orally as a single dose; repeat in 2 weeks
-Children at least 20 kg: 400 mg orally as a single dose; repeat in 2 weeks

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally as a single dose; repeat in 2 weeks

Comments: Some clinicians recommend all household contacts of infected patients receive treatment, especially when multiple or repeated symptomatic infections occur, since such contacts commonly also are infected; retreatment after 14 to 21 days may be needed.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Filariasis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day for 10 days

Comments: Recommended for infection due to M perstans

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

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally as a single dose

Comments: Recommended for infection due to A duodenal or N americanus

Usual Pediatric Dose for Enterocolitis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally once as a single dose

Comments: Recommended for eosinophilic enterocolitis due to A caninum

Usual Pediatric Dose for Loiasis:

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 200 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Comments:
-Recommended for symptomatic infection with microfilariae of L loa/mL less than 8000 and 2 rounds of diethylcarbamazine failed; or recommended for symptomatic loiasis with microfilariae of L loa/mL at least 8000 to reduce level to less than 8000 before diethylcarbamazine therapy
-Treatment of this infection is complex; experts with experience treating this disease and preventing complications of therapy should be consulted.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Visceral Larva Migrans (Toxicariasis):

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 5 days

Comments:
-Recommended for visceral toxocariasis
-Optimum duration of therapy is unknown; some clinicians recommend 20 days therapy.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Strongyloidiasis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally twice a day for 7 days

Comments:
-Recommended as alternative therapy
-May be necessary to repeat or prolong therapy or use other agents in immunocompromised patients or patients with disseminated disease

Usual Pediatric Dose for Trichinosis:

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 8 to 14 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Trichostrongylosis:

Some experts recommend: 400 mg orally as a single dose with food

Comments: Recommended as an alternative therapy

Usual Pediatric Dose for Whipworm Infection (Trichuris trichiura):

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally once a day for 3 days

Usual Pediatric Dose for Gnathostomiasis:

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 400 mg orally twice a day for 21 days

Comments: Recommended for cutaneous symptoms

Usual Pediatric Dose for Clornorchis sinensis (Liver Fluke):

US CDC and AAP recommendations: 10 mg/kg/day orally for 7 days

Comments: Recommended as alternative therapy

Usual Pediatric Dose for Microsporidiosis:

Some experts recommend: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

Comments:
-Recommended for disseminated infection due to E hellem, E cuniculi, E intestinalis, Pleistophora species, Trachipleistophora species, or A vesicularum
-Recommended for intestinal infection due to E intestinalis
-With fumagillin, recommended for ocular infection due to E hellem, E cuniculi, or V corneae

US CDC, NIH, HIVMA/IDSA, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and AAP recommendations for HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children: 15 mg/kg/day orally in divided doses twice a day
Maximum dose: 800 mg/day

US CDC, NIH, and HIVMA/IDSA recommendations for HIV-infected adolescents: 400 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-Recommended as preferred therapy (including treatment and secondary prophylaxis)
-Recommended for intestinal and disseminated (not ocular) infection due to Microsporidia other than E bieneusi and V corneae
-With fumagillin, recommended for ocular infection for management of systemic infection

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: 3.02. Revision Date: 2015-09-11, 8:19:42 AM.

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