Benzimidazole treatment of cystic echinococcosis

Joseph El-On

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Hydatidosis (cystic echinococcosis, CE) constitutes a serious public health problem worldwide. Total surgical removal of a hydatid cyst is still considered the gold standard treatment for CE. Percutaneous treatment (PAIR), using either hypertonic saline or alcohol as a larvacidal agent, appears to be an additional effective form of treatment. Benzimidazoles (albendazole, ABZ; mebendazole, MBZ), given either alone or combined with praziquantel (PZ) are currently used for the treatment of non-surgical cases and as a supplementary treatment prior and post-surgery. Combined chemotherapy was found to be more effective than either of the agents given alone. ABZ is easily absorbed and more effective than MBZ. ABZ (12-15 mg/kg/day) and MBZ (30-70 mg/kg/day) given for 14-20 days prior to surgery and continued for an additional 3-24 months in a cyclic monthly form were found effective against the disease. Either increased or decreased circulating antigen levels, which consequently cause changes in the humoral (IgG, IgG1, IgG4, IgE) immune responses, have a prognostic value in successfully treated CE cases. However, although the cellular immune response to echinococcal antigens decreased in improved or cured CE patients, it was not considered of practical use in determining treatment efficacy. In certain cases successful treatment was also followed by elevated eosinophilia and erythrocyte sedimentation rates. In the present article, the mechanism of drug activities as well as the development of resistance against the drugs available are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzimidazoles
  • Cystic echinococcosis
  • Immune response
  • Susceptibility and drug resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (miscellaneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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