Since Albendazole is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract at the usual therapeutic doses, adverse effects have generally been restricted to gastrointestinal disturbances, such as transient abdominal pain and diarrhoea, and have tended to occur in patients being treated for heavy intestinal infection. Headache and dizziness have been reported. Adverse effects have been reported more frequently with the high doses tried in echinococcosis and have included allergic reactions, raised liver enzyme values, alopecia, and bone marrow depression.
Albendazole is teratogenic (causes abnormalities) in rats and the manufacturers note that there are no adequate and well controlled studies in human pregnancy. Albendazole/Zentel deworming tabs in Kenya is therefore usually contra-indicated during pregnancy.
Uses and Administration
Albendazole is a benzimidazole carbamate anthelmintic structurally related to mebendazole and with similar activity. It is used in relatively high doses in the treatment of the cestode infections cysticercosis and echinococcosis (hydatid disease). In Kenya albendazole is used in the treatment of single and mixed intestinal nematode infections including ascariasis, enterobiasis, hookworm, strongyloidiasis, and trichuriasis.
GSK Zentel may also be used in the treatment of capillariasis, gnathostomiasis, and trichostrongyliasis. Albendazole may be effective in the treatment of the tissue nematode infections cutaneous larva migrans, toxocariasis, and trichinosis and, with other anthelmintics, in the management of the filarial nematode infection lymphatic filariasis. For discussions of these infections and their treatment, see under Choice of Anthelmintic, and under the individual headings below.
In the treatment of echinococcosis, albendazole is given by mouth with meals in a dose of 400¬†mg twice daily for 28 days for patients weighing over 60¬†kg. A dose of 15¬†mg/kg daily in two divided doses (to a maximum total daily dose of 800¬†mg) is used for patients weighing less than 60¬†kg. For cystic echinococcosis, the 28-day course may be repeated after 14 days without treatment to a total of 3 treatment cycles. For alveolar echinococcosis, cycles of 28 days of treatment followed by 14 days without treatment may need to continue for months or years.
In the treatment of neurocysticercosis, albendazole 400¬†mg twice daily for patients weighing over 60¬†kg (or 15¬†mg/kg daily in two divided doses to a maximum total daily dose of 800¬†mg in those weighing less than 60¬†kg) is given by mouth for 8 to 30 days.
Albendazole is given by mouth, usually as a single dose, in the treatment of single or mixed intestinal nematode infections. The usual dose for adults and children aged 2 years or over with ascariasis, enterobiasis, hookworm infections, or trichuriasis is 400¬†mg as a single dose. In enterobiasis, the dose may be repeated in 1 to 4 weeks. Some consider that children of 1 to 2 years of age may be given 200¬†mg for enterobiasis. In strongyloidiasis, 400¬†mg is given once or twice daily for 3 consecutive days; this may be repeated after 3 weeks if necessary.
Albendazole has also been used to treat giardiasis suggested doses are 400¬†mg daily by mouth for 5 days.