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Mebendazole in the Treatment of Dracontiasis

Oladele O. KaleDepartment of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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In a controlled field trial of treatment for dracontiasis, mebendazole (Vermox®) was found to be effective in eliminating the adult worm and preventing clinical relapses, but it did not achieve significant amelioration of symptoms, subsidence of inflammation, or healing of ulcers. The failure is attributed to poor absorption and lack of anti-inflammatory action of the drug. Mebendazole was well tolerated and although two patients reported mild gastro-intestinal disturbances, which may be attributed to the drug, the study confirms that mebendazole is one of the safest anthelmintics in current use and is in that respect ideal for mass therapy.