The Use of Dithiazanine in the Treatment of Helminthiasis in Mexican Farm Laborers

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  • Department of Microbiology and Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, College of Medical Evangelists, Loma Linda, California

Summary and Discussion

Two dosage schedules of dithiazanine, 200 mg t.i.d. for 4 days and 300 mg t.i.d. for 3 days were given Mexican farm laborers infected with certain helminths. Post-therapy stool studies revealed apparent cures in all patients infected with five species of helminths, as follows: Twenty-two cases were treated and found negative on subsequent stool examinations for Ascaris lumbricoides; similarly five for Trichuris trichiura; six for Taenia sp.; three for Enterobius vermicularis; and one for Strongyloides stercoralis. Results on other infections treated are: Ten of 23 cases with Hymenolepis nana and three of 16 hookworm infections remained negative for eggs.

The results of the study, based on active out-patients treated with dithiazanine, agree with those of others indicating quite effective therapeutic results obtained in treating trichuriasis and strongyloidiasis, as well as ascariasis and enterobiasis. The drug is less effective against hookworm infection. Of additional interest is the report of apparent drug activity against two tapeworms, H. nana and Taenia sp., findings not previously reported. In 10 of 23 (43.5%) of the H. nana-positive cases treated, the stools remained negative for eggs of this worm. All six of the cases of taeniasis remained negative for the duration of the test period.

Urine was examined before and after treatment in 13 cases and no significant changes were noted; likewise, blood hemoglobin and differential counts were made on the same cases, the findings indicating no significant change after use of the drug. Of 73 treated cases, 32.8 per cent reported some nausea and 24.7 per cent vomiting during the course of treatment. All but one patient, reporting nausea, completed his course of treatment. This patient was convalescing from hepatitis. One patient could tolerate only 100 mg t.i.d. but took a total of 2,400 mg with an apparent cure of his hookworm infection. The observations on drug side effects were complicated by a simultaneous outbreak of food poisoning, with vomiting and diarrhea, in some of the study group.