Albendazole (ADZ) and praziquantel (PZQT) have been used as anthelmintics for over 30 years. Worldwide, hundreds of millions tablets are administered to people and livestock every year. ADZ is poorly orally absorbed (< 5%), and its uptake is enhanced by high-fat meals, while PZQT is well absorbed (> 75%) and uptake is enhanced by carbohydrate-rich meals. Both ADZ and PZQT are safe, but not recommended for children < 2 years or for women in the first trimester of pregnancy. Serious adverse events occur following high dose and prolonged administration of these drugs for treatment of echinococcosis or neurocysticercosis, especially in patients with poor liver function. The adverse events may be induced by the drugs, or by the dead worms themselves. The Korea Institute of Drug Safety & Risk Management monitors drug-related adverse events in Korea, and its database included 256 probable or possible ADZ-associated events and 108 PZQT-associated events between 2006 and 2015. Such low incidence rates in Korea are due to the low single dose treatments of ADZ, and the short-term use of PZQT. The number of serious adverse events due to drug interaction induced by ADZ and PZQT were six and two, respectively. We conclude that ADZ and PZQT are generally safe drugs, but they must be used with caution in people with poor liver function or those being comedicated for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Adverse effects