Albendazole appears to cause cytoplasmic microtubu-lar degeneration, which in turn impairs vital cellular processes and leads to parasite death. There is some evidence that the drug also inhibits helminth-specific ATP generation by fumarate reductase.

Albendazole is given orally and is poorly and variably absorbed (<5%) because of its poor water solubility. Oral bioavailability is increased as much as five times when the drug is given with a fatty meal instead of on an empty stomach. Concurrent treatment with corti-costeroids increases plasma concentrations of albenda-zole. The drug is rapidly metabolized in the liver to an active sulfoxide metabolite. The half life of the metabolites is 8 to 12 hours.

Albendazole has a broad spectrum of activity against intestinal nematodes and cestodes, as well as the liver flukes Opisthorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, and Clonorchis sinensis. It also has been used successfully against Giardia lamblia. Albendazole is an effective treatment of hydatid cyst disease (echinococcosis), especially when accompanied with praziquantel. It also is effective in treating cerebral and spinal neurocysticercosis, particularly when given with dexamethasone. Albendazole is recommended for treatment of gnathostomiasis.

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