Neurocysticercosis is a common parasitic tissue infection of the central nervous system caused by the larval cysts of the pork tapeworm, Taenia Solium, in the brain. It is symptomized by the onset of seizures and late-stage epilepsy. For a long time, neurocysticercosis was treated by doing surgery. The new treatment involves using anticysticercal drugs such as Albendazole and Praziquantel. (1)
Albendazole: Effective at treating infections
A cost-effective and medically approved drug, Albendazole is effective in treating Neurocysticercosis, which is the leading cause of adult-onset epilepsy and is probably one of the most frequent causes of childhood epilepsy in the world.
Cysticercosis infection occurs when a person swallows the eggs present in the faeces of a person who has an intestinal Taenia Solium. Consumption of uncooked pork or living in the same house as an infected person can cause cysticercosis. In turn, pigs get infected by eating tapeworm eggs in the faeces of a human infected with a tapeworm. These forms of tapeworm infection, taeniasis and cysticercosis occur globally, the highest being in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Brain seizures with late-onset of epilepsy are the common symptoms. (2)
Research demonstrates that Albendazole can eliminate or reduce the size of the cysticerci. It effectively treats parenchymal cysticercosis and the ventricular, subarachnoid and racemose forms of the disease. The response to the treatment not being universal. Albendazole is effective when administered for eight days instead of more extended periods.
Development and Administration
Developed in 1975, Albendazole is on the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines. It is taken orally to treat other conditions, including giardiasis, pinworm disease, and ascariasis.
Albendazole causes degenerative changes and inhibits microtubules’ polymerization. Drug administration leads to impaired glucose uptake by the larval and adult stages of the susceptible parasites and depletes their glycogen stores.
Albendazole also prevents the formation of spindle fibres needed for cell division, which blocks the egg production and development and the hatching of the existing eggs, thus stopping the worms’ multiplication. It also inhibits the helminth’s (Taenia Solium’s) metabolic pathways by inhibiting the metabolic enzymes, producing less energy. Due to less ATP production in the Krebs cycle and eventually dies. It causes a holistic attack on the parasite’s cell motility and intracellular transport. (2)
The common side effects of Albendazole use are headaches and abnormal liver function. Elevation of liver enzymes, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, temporary hair loss and fever may be other signs. When treated with Albendazole, patients can also have neurological side effects such as increased intracranial pressure, seizures, and focal CNS signs or impairment of the brain, nerves, or spinal cord. (3)
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical teams strive to provide relevant information through such articles. We strongly advise readers to not consume or administer any medication without prior consultation with their doctor.