Which is better albendazole or mebendazole?

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Albendazole and mebendazole are both broad-spectrum antihelminthic drugs, which means that they are effective against a wide variety of parasitic worms. They are both commonly used to treat soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), a group of infections caused by roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Efficacy

In general, albendazole is more effective than mebendazole against STHs. A study published in the journal PLOS One found that albendazole was more effective at curing hookworm infections and reducing the number of eggs of all three STHs.

However, mebendazole is more effective against pinworm infections. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that mebendazole was more effective at curing pinworm infections than albendazole.

Safety

Both albendazole and mebendazole are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, they can cause some side effects, such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Albendazole is more likely to cause side effects than mebendazole.

Cost

Albendazole is less expensive than mebendazole.

Overall

Albendazole is the better choice for most STH infections. However, mebendazole is the better choice for pinworm infections.

Mechanism of action

Albendazole and mebendazole work by disrupting the microtubule system of parasitic worms. Microtubules are essential for the worm’s movement and metabolism. When the microtubule system is disrupted, the worm dies.

Spectrum of activity

Albendazole is effective against a wide variety of parasitic worms, including:

  • Roundworms: Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Enterobius vermicularis
  • Hookworms: Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus
  • Tapeworms: Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, Diphyllobothrium latum
  • Liver flukes: Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini
  • Lung flukes: Paragonimus westermani

Mebendazole is also effective against a wide variety of parasitic worms, but it is not as effective as albendazole against some worms, such as hookworms and tapeworms.

Dosage and administration

Albendazole is typically taken once, but it may need to be repeated in 2-4 weeks for some infections. The dosage of albendazole depends on the type of infection being treated and the person’s weight.

Mebendazole is also typically taken once, but it may need to be repeated in 2 weeks for some infections. The dosage of mebendazole depends on the type of infection being treated and the person’s weight.

Side effects

Albendazole and mebendazole are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, they can cause some side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash

Albendazole is more likely to cause side effects than mebendazole.

Drug interactions

Albendazole and mebendazole can interact with other medications. It is important to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking before starting albendazole or mebendazole.

Albendazole is a first-line treatment for neurocysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infection of the brain caused by the larvae of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. It is a serious infection that can lead to seizures, headaches, and other neurological problems.

Albendazole is effective at killing the larvae of T. solium and reducing inflammation in the brain. It is the first-line treatment for neurocysticercosis.

 Mebendazole is effective against threadworms.

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are small roundworms that live in the intestines. They are common in children and can cause itching around the anus, especially at night.

Mebendazole is effective at killing threadworms and their eggs. It is a single-dose treatment for threadworm infections.

 Albendazole and mebendazole are both safe and well-tolerated in most people.

However, they can cause some side effects, such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Albendazole is more likely to cause side effects than mebendazole.

Albendazole and mebendazole are both available over-the-counter in many countries.

However, they should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Trusted references

  • PLOS One: Albendazole vs. Mebendazole in the Treatment of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Pediatrics: Comparison of Albendazole and Mebendazole in the Treatment of Enterobiasis

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