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Taenia Infection Medication

  • Author: Sowmya Nanjappa, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 06, 2015


Class Summary

Treatment of both tapeworm infections is similar; praziquantel is considered the drug of choice. Niclosamide can also be used. Both are administered as single-dose therapy. A new drug, tribendimidine, is being studied in China. With T solium infection, start treatment immediately because of the possibility of cysticercosis via autoinfection.

Praziquantel (Biltricide)


Praziquantel is the DOC for Taenia infection. It increases cell membrane permeability in susceptible worms, resulting in loss of intracellular calcium, massive contractions, and paralysis of musculature.

Niclosamide (Niclocide)


Niclosamide acts by causing necrosis of the head and adjoining segments of the tapeworm. The worm loses hold and is eliminated in pieces or intact with feces. It is available as a 500-mg tablet. It should be chewed to fine pulp before swallowing with a little water or crushed in liquid and then swallowed.

Albendazole (Albenza)


Albendazole decreases ATP production in the worm, causing energy depletion, immobilization, and, finally, death. To avoid inflammatory an response in the CNS, the patient must also be started on anticonvulsants and high-dose glucocorticosteroids.



Class Summary

These agents are useful in cases of primary increased intracranial pressure or cases resulting from anthelmintic-induced cyst death and resultant inflammation.

Dexamethasone (Decadron)


Dexamethasone is an adrenocortical steroid. It decreases inflammation by suppressing the migration of PMNs and reducing capillary permeability.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Sowmya Nanjappa, MD Assistant Member, Department of Internal Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Oncologic Sciences (Joint Appointment), University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine

Sowmya Nanjappa, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society of Hospital Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Ashir Kumar, MD, MBBS FAAP, Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Ashir Kumar, MD, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: Infectious Diseases Society of America, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Leslie L Barton, MD Professor Emerita of Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Leslie L Barton, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of Pediatric Program Directors, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Michael D Nissen, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA Associate Professor in Biomolecular, Biomedical Science & Health, Griffith University; Director of Infectious Diseases and Unit Head of Queensland Paediatric Infectious Laboratory, Sir Albert Sakzewski Viral Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Brain MRI that reveals a cystic lesion containing a dead parasite with surrounding vasogenic edema on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging. MRI is of a 16-year-old Guatemalan adolescent with first-time afebrile seizure and normal EEG, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and examination findings.
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