Health Guide
Drug Guide

Albendazole (Oral route)

Pronunciation:

al-BEN-da-zole

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Anthelmintic

Chemical

Benzimidazole

Uses of This Medicine:

Albendazole is used to treat neurocysticercosis, an infection of the nervous system caused by pork tapeworms. This medicine is also used to treat cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum, an infection caused by dog tapeworms.

Albendazole is used to treat infections caused by worms. It works by keeping the worm from absorbing sugar (glucose), so that the worm loses energy and dies.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling in the U.S., albendazole is used in certain patients with the following infections:

For patients taking albendazole for hookworms:

For patients taking albendazole for pinworms:

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of albendazole to treat neurocysticercosis in children. However, hydatid disease is uncommon in children.

Older adults

Although appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of albendazole have not been performed in the geriatric population, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

No special preparations (fasting, laxatives, or enemas) or other steps are necessary before, during, or immediately after treatment with albendazole.

Take this medicine with meals, especially with food containing fat, to help your body absorb the medicine better.

You may crush or chew the tablet and swallow it with water. If you have difficulty with swallowing, you may take the chewable tablet.

If you are taking this medicine for neurocysticercosis, your doctor will give you additional medicines (such as medicines for seizures or steroids) while you are taking this medicine.

To help clear up your infection completely, take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor for the full time of treatment. In some infections, additional treatments with this medicine may be needed at 2-week intervals to clear up the infection completely. Do not miss any doses.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is important that your doctor check your progress after treatment. This is to make sure that the infection is cleared up completely, and to allow your doctor to check for any unwanted effects. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

If your symptoms do not improve after you have taken this medicine for the full course of treatment, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

For women of childbearing age, it is important that you use an effective form of birth control while using this medicine and for at least 1 month after your last dose. Also, your doctor should give you a pregnancy test before you start the medicine to make sure you are not pregnant.

Albendazole can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

For patients treated for neurocysticercosis, this medicine may increase your risk for increased pressure in the head or seizures. Tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
Fever
Rare
Black, tarry stools
bleeding gums
blood in the urine or stools
chest pain
chills
cough
painful or difficult urination
pinpoint red spots on the skin
shortness of breath
sore throat
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
swollen glands
ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
blurred vision
dark-colored urine
diarrhea
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
headache
itching
joint or muscle pain
light-colored stools
red, irritated eyes
seizures
stomach pain, continuing
tightness in the chest
vomiting
yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Abdominal or stomach pain
Less common
Nausea
Less common or rare
Dizziness
thinning or loss of the hair
Incidence not known
Lack or loss of strength

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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