Research Article

Albendazole: a review of anthelmintic efficacy and safety in humans

J.  HORTON  c1
a1 Therapeutics (Tropical Medicine), SmithKline Beecham International, Brentford, Middlesex, United Kingdom TW89BD


This comprehensive review briefly describes the history and pharmacology of albendazole as an anthelminthic drug and presents detailed summaries of the efficacy and safety of albendazole's use as an anthelminthic in humans. Cure rates and % egg reduction rates are presented from studies published through March 1998 both for the recommended single dose of 400mg for hookworm (separately for Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale when possible), Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and Enterobius vermicularis and, in separate tables, for doses other than a single dose of 400mg. Overall cure rates are also presented separately for studies involving only children 2–15 years. Similar tables are also provided for the recommended dose of 400mg per day for 3 days in Strongyloides stercoralis, Taenia spp. and Hymenolepis nana infections and separately for other dose regimens. The remarkable safety record involving more than several hundred million patient exposures over a 20 year period is also documented, both with data on adverse experiences occurring in clinical trials and with those in the published literature and/or spontaneously reported to the company. The incidence of side effects reported in the published literature is very low, with only gastrointestinal side effects occurring with an overall frequency of just >1%. Albendazole's unique broad-spectrum activity is exemplified in the overall cure rates calculated from studies employing the recommended doses for hookworm (78% in 68 studies: 92% for A. duodenale in 23 studies and 75% for N. americanus in 30 studies), A. lumbricoides (95% in 64 studies), T. trichiura (48% in 57 studies), E. vermicularis (98% in 27 studies), S. stercoralis (62% in 19 studies), H. nana (68% in 11 studies), and Taenia spp. (85% in 7 studies). The facts that albendazole is safe and easy to administer, both in treatment of individuals and in treatment of whole communities where it has been given by paramedical and nonmedical personnel, have enabled its use to improve general community health, including the improved nutrition and development of children.

Key Words: Albendazole; anthelmintic efficacy in humans; anthelmintics in children; anthelmintic safety; Ancylostoma duodenale; Necator americanus; Ascaris lumbricoides; Trichuris trichiura; Strongyloides stercoralis; Enterobius vermicularis; Taenia saginata; Taenia solium; Hymenolepis nana.

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