Albendazole : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Albendazole is used to treat neurocysticercosis (an infection caused by pork tapeworms in the muscles, brain, and eyes that can cause seizures, brain swelling, and vision problems). Albendazole is also used in conjunction with surgery to treat cystic hydatidosis (an infection caused by the dog’s tapeworm in the liver, lungs, and lining of the abdomen that can damage these organs). Albendazole is in a class of medications called anthelmintics. It works by killing the worms.
How should this medicine be used?
Albendazole comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food twice a day. When albendazole is used to treat neurocysticercosis, it is usually taken for 8 to 30 days. When albendazole is used to treat cystic hydatid disease, it is usually taken for 28 days, followed by a 14-day break, and repeated for a total of three cycles. Take albendazole at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take albendazole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. If you are giving the medicine to a child or if you cannot swallow the tablets whole, you can crush or chew the tablets and swallow the medicine with a glass of water. Take albendazole until the prescription is finished, even if you feel better. If you stop taking albendazole too soon or miss doses, your infection may not be completely treated.
Other uses for this medicine
Albendazole is also sometimes used to treat infections caused by roundworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, trematodes, and other parasites (a plant or animal that lives inside another living organism to receive some benefit). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this drug for your condition. This medicine may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking albendazole,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to albendazole, mebendazole, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in albendazole tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention theophylline. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, could be, or plan to become pregnant. You should not start your treatment with albendazole until you have had a negative pregnancy test. You should not become pregnant while taking albendazole and for 3 days after your final dose. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use during your treatment. If you become pregnant while taking albendazole, call your doctor immediately. Albendazole can harm the fetus.
- Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking albendazole.
- If you are taking albendazole to treat neurocysticercosis, your doctor will probably tell you to take certain medications to prevent damage to the nervous system during your treatment. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: seizures, headache, vomiting, extreme tiredness, or changes in behavior.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Albendazole may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- reversible hair loss
- sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- pale skin
- shortness of breath
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p ) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help . If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order an eye exam before starting your treatment. Your doctor will also order certain lab tests during your treatment to check your body’s response to albendazole. Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription. It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.