Albendazole - Overview and Usage

Created by Doctor Kim, 4 months ago

Albendazole is a medication classified as an anti-helminthic drug, primarily used for the treatment of tapeworm infections. It may also be prescribed for other types of worm infections. The drug is available in tablet form and belongs to a group of medications called anti-helminthics.

Effects and Administration

Albendazole effectively treats tapeworm infections and other worm infections. It is usually taken with food, one to two times daily, as directed by your doctor. If you or your child have difficulty swallowing the tablet, it can be crushed or chewed and then taken with water.

The dosage of albendazole is based on your weight, medical condition, and response to treatment. It is important to use the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, certain medical conditions may require you to stop taking the medicine for two weeks and then resume the treatment. It is advisable to mark the dates on your calendar as a reminder.

To maximize the effectiveness of albendazole, it should be taken regularly at the same time each day. Even if symptoms improve after a few days, it is important to complete the full treatment regimen. Stopping the drug prematurely can lead to recurrent infections.

Your doctor may also prescribe other medications, such as corticosteroids or antiepileptic drugs, in conjunction with albendazole. It is crucial to follow the prescribed dosage instructions for these medications as well.

While taking albendazole, it is recommended to avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice, unless specifically instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Grapefruit can increase the risk of side effects associated with albendazole. For more information, consult your healthcare provider.

Storage and Disposal

Store albendazole at room temperature, away from moisture and light. Do not store it in the bathroom or freezer. Different medications may have specific storage requirements, so it is advisable to read the instructions on the package carefully or consult your pharmacist. Keep the medicine out of reach of children and pets.

Do not flush the medication down the toilet or drain unless instructed to do so. Properly dispose of the medication when it reaches its expiration date or if it cannot be used. You can consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for information on safe disposal methods.

Dosage Information

Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before making decisions regarding medication.

Adult Dosage:

1. Echinococcosis:

  • Adults weighing over 60 kg: Take 400 mg orally twice daily for 28 days.
  • Adults weighing less than 60 kg: Take 15 mg/kg per day, divided into two doses. The maximum daily dose is 800 mg. Treatment for echinococcosis cysts is divided into three cycles, each lasting 28 days, with 14 days of no treatment between cycles. It may be necessary to continue treatment for months or even years to completely eliminate the parasites from the body.
2. Neurocysticercosis:
  • Adults weighing more than 60 kg: Take 400 mg orally twice daily.
  • Adults weighing less than 60 kg: Take 15 mg/kg per day, divided into two doses, for 8-30 days.
3. Pinworms, Roundworms, Hookworm Infection:
  • Oral administration of a single 400 mg dose.
4. Strongyloidiasis:
  • Take 400 mg orally once daily for three consecutive days. Repeat the cycle after three weeks if necessary.
5. Giardiasis:
  • Take 400 mg orally daily for five days.
Pediatric Dosage (continued):

1. Pinworm Infection, Roundworm Infection, Hookworm Infection:

  • Over 2 years: Oral administration of a single 400 mg dose.
  • 1 to 2 years: Oral administration of a single 200 mg dose.
2. Giardiasis:
  • Oral administration of 400 mg daily for five days.
3. Concentrations and Strengths:

Albendazole is available in tablet form with the following strengths:

  • 200 mg
  • 400 mg

Side Effects:

If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, shortness of breath, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911.

Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness
  • Fever, sore throat, and headache accompanied by severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash
  • Fever with chills, body aches, or flu-like symptoms
Remember, this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for personalized guidance and before starting or stopping any medication.

Less Serious Side Effects:

  • Stomach ache 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headache and dizziness 
  • Temporary hair loss
Please note that not everyone experiences these side effects, and there may be other side effects not mentioned here. If you have any concerns or questions about side effects, it is recommended to consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions and Warnings

Before taking albendazole, it is important to consider the following:

  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to albendazole, mebendazole, any other medications, or any ingredients in albendazole tablets.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbs you are taking or planning to take, especially theophylline. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your medication or monitor side effects closely.
  • Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. A negative pregnancy test is recommended before starting treatment with albendazole. It is important to use effective birth control methods during treatment and for at least one month after treatment ends. If you become pregnant while taking albendazole, contact your doctor immediately, as it may harm the unborn baby.
  • Inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • If you are scheduled for surgery, including dental surgery, inform your doctor or dentist about your use of albendazole.
  • If you are taking albendazole to treat ringworm, your doctor may prescribe specific medications to prevent nerve damage during treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience seizures, headaches, vomiting, extreme tiredness, or changes in behavior.

Considerations for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There is insufficient data to determine the risks of taking albendazole during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is essential to consult your doctor to evaluate the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.

Albendazole belongs to category C drugs for pregnancy. The classification of drugs used for pregnant women is as follows:

  • Category A: No risk 
  • Category B: No risk in some studies 
  • Category C: Possible risk 
  • Category D: Evidence of risk 
  • Category X: Contraindications 
  • Category N: Still unknown

Drug Interactions

Albendazole may interact with other medications. It is important to inform your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications you are taking, including prescription, non-prescription, and dietary supplements. Do not self-medicate, stop, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor's approval.

Albendazole may interact with the following drugs:

  • Cimetidine, dexamethasone, or praziquantel, as they may increase the risk of side effects from albendazole. 
  • Theophylline, as the risk of its side effects may be increased by albendazole.
Food and Alcohol Interactions: Certain medications may interact with food, alcohol, or tobacco. It is advisable to consult your healthcare professional regarding the intake of albendazole with food, alcohol, and tobacco.

Albendazole should not be consumed with grapefruit juice.

Health Conditions

Your medical condition may affect the usage of this medication. Inform your doctor if you have any health problems, particularly:

  • Tapeworm larvae involving the eye: If you are taking albendazole to treat a tapeworm infection affecting the nervous system, it is important to have your eyes checked for lesions, as the use of albendazole may increase the risk of eye-related side effects. 
  • Liver disease: Patients with liver disease may experience increased side effects.

Emergency and Overdose

In case of an emergency or overdose, immediately call 911 or visit the nearest healthcare facility.

Answered by Doctor Kim, 4 months ago