What Albenza Is
Albenza is a trade name of albendazole, a powerful broad-spectrum anthelmintic substance of the benzimidazole class. The mechanism of action lies in the property of albendazole to inhibit the growth and multiplication of the newly hatched larvae. It is used to treat a range of parasite invasions, such as ascariasis, trichuriasis, giardiasis, filariasis, hydatid disease, neurocysticercosis, pinworm disease, and others. It is also used in the treatment of certain infections transmitted by certain types of tapeworms and for other purposes not listed here.
Recommendations for Use, Dosage, and Overdose
Albenza is taken orally. It is advised to take the drug with food during meals to prevent upset stomach and ease potential side effects on the gastro-intestinal tract. If you have trouble swallowing the whole pill, you may chew it or crush it. Take the pill with a full glass of water.
Along with Albenza, you may be prescribed other drugs for the prevention of side effects of the agent itself or the ones that result from the parasites death and decay in your body.
The dosage of Albenza depends on the type of the parasite and weight of the patient and is determined by the doctor. Follow all the directions on the prescription strictly and carefully read all the guides or instruction sheets included in the box. Take the drug in strict accordance with the doctor’s orders and recommendations in the instruction sheet. If you gain or lose weight, your dose may need to be adjusted. In such a case, contact your physician.
For some parasites and diseases, it might be necessary to run several Albenza treatment courses.
Do not stop the treatment prematurely, take the drug for a full prescribed course, even if the symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses or premature discontinuation of the treatment can increase the risk of parasites developing resistance to the drug. Note that Albenza does not treat viral infections such as flu or common cold.
If you accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s almost the time for your next one, skip the missed dose to prevent overdose. Do not take two doses at a time.
Due to low solubility, Albenza cannot be absorbed in high enough amounts to be toxic. However, if you do overdose and experience negative effects, seek urgent medical attention! There is no specific antidote. Stomach pumping and sorbents are the therapy in case of overdose.
Precautions and Contraindications
Although Albenza is considered safe and unlikely to cause a drastic influence on body organs and functions, the drug still has a range of certain contraindications and restrictions that should be taken into account.
Do not use Albenza if you are allergic to albendazole or similar substances such as mebendazole.
Inform your doctor about any current issues or the history of serious conditions, especially:
- Eye conditions (in particular, involving retina);
- Liver or kidney disease;
- Suppression of bone marrow.
Albenza is potentially harmful for an unborn baby, therefore, it is forbidden for use during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or become pregnant while on Albenza treatment. To make sure you are not pregnant, you may need to take a pregnancy test and get a negative result before starting the treatment. Use effective contraception methods to prevent pregnancy while taking the drug and at least for 3 days after the last dose. Breastfeeding is also not advised during Albenza treatment, as the substance may pass into breast milk. You may have to discontinue breastfeeding temporarily.
Interactions with Other Drugs and Substances
Certain medications and substances cannot be used at the same time, as they may interact and cause side effects or influence each other’s effectiveness. To such substances that interact with Albenza belong:
- Antiepileptics such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital;
- Antacid agent cimetidine;
- Corticosteroids such as dexamethasone;
- Other antiparasitic remedies such as praziquantel and levamisole;
- Antiretroviral ritonavir;
Anthelmintic medications may lower the effectiveness of hormonal birth-control methods, so patients should use non-hormonal contraception (like condom or diaphragm with spermicide) while undergoing Albenza treatment course to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
The list of interactions is not complete. Other drugs and substances may affect Albenza, including both prescription and over-the-counter medicines like vitamins or herbal products. Inform your doctor about any drug you’re taking to avoid dangerous interactions and their side effects.
The most common side effects are headache, abdominal pain, and nausea. Among the potentially severe side effects, the most common one is bone marrow suppression which normally improves after discontinuation of the treatment. In patients with the history of liver problems, there is a greater risk of liver inflammation.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:
- Difficulty breathing;
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
At the first signs of an allergic reaction to the drug (such as hives, swelling in your face, tongue, lips, or throat, shortness of breath), get urgent medical help.
If you experience any of the following, inform your doctor:
- Chills, fever, sore throat, dizziness;
- High intracranial pressure: severe headache, dizziness, ringing in your ears, nausea, pain behind your eyes, vision problems.
Other side effects may include:
- Muscle stiffness;
- Hypersensitivity to light;
- Abdominal pain;
- Abnormal liver function tests;
- Hair loss.
Other side effects may occur. Consult with your doctor about any side effects that you develop.
Keep in Mind
Before usage, make sure you’ve consulted your physician to ensure the information mentioned above applies to your medical condition. Do not forget to inform your doctor about any other currently taken drugs, or some special health issues like allergies, breastfeeding, or pregnancy.
Do not share Albenza with any other person, even if he/she has similar symptoms. Keep away from children’s and store the drug in a dry ventilated place away from sun and moisture.
Inform your doctor in case of no positive dynamics. If you experience any strong side effects, call your physician immediately.