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DEATH RELATED TO ALBENDAZOLE-INDUCED PANCYTOPENIA: CASE REPORT AND REVIEW

LUCIE OPATRNYDivisions of Clinical Epidemiology and General Internal Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, and McGill Centre for Tropical Diseases, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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ROGER PRICHARDDivisions of Clinical Epidemiology and General Internal Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, and McGill Centre for Tropical Diseases, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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LINDA SNELLDivisions of Clinical Epidemiology and General Internal Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, and McGill Centre for Tropical Diseases, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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J. DICK MACLEANDivisions of Clinical Epidemiology and General Internal Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, and McGill Centre for Tropical Diseases, McGill University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Albendazole is a benzimidazole with wide spectrum coverage as an antiparasitic drug. Reported side effects have been minimal. We report the case of a patient who died with severe prolonged pancytopenia beginning during the third week of therapy for a pulmonary echinococcal cyst. This case was a 68-year-old man who presented with a large cystic lung mass. His medical history was significant for Child-Pugh class B cirrhosis. A prolonged course of albendazole was initiated. Two weeks later, the patient presented in septic shock with severe pancytopenia. The patient was initially resuscitated, but died after 10 days with no marrow recovery. Autopsy was consistent with albendazole-induced pancytopenia. This is the third human case of pancytopenia and the first death reported in relation to albendazole-induced pancytopenia. Neutropenia seems to be related more to higher dosage and longer duration of use. Albendazole sulfoxide peak dose and half life are significantly prolonged by liver disease and concomitant administration of certain drugs. The severity and duration of albendazole-induced pancytopenia in this case was likely related to the underlying liver disease. Frequent serial monitoring of blood counts and cessation of medication with any evidence of marrow toxicity in such patients is warranted.

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