What is Albenza?
Albenza is an anthelmintic (an-thel-MIN-tik) or anti- worm medication. It prevents newly hatched insect larvae (worms) from growing or multiplying in your body.
Albenza is used to treat certain infections caused by worms such as pork tapeworm and dog tapeworm.
Albenza may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Always Hungry? You Just Might Have One Of These Conditions
Always Hungry? You Just Might Have One Of These Conditions
Albenza should not be used during pregnancy, unless there is no alternate treatment. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to Albenza, or to similar drugs such as mebendazole (Vermox).
To make sure Albenza is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease; or
bone marrow suppression.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Albenza should not be used during pregnancy, unless there is no alternate treatment. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine and for at least 1 month after your treatment ends.
You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.
It is not known whether Albenza passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Albenza?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take with food.
In a young child (or anyone who is unable to swallow a whole Albenza tablet), the tablet should be crushed or chewed and swallowed with a full glass of water.
You may be given other medicines to prevent certain side effects of Albenza, or certain effects that can result when the parasites die within your body.
Tell your doctor if you have any changes in weight. Albenza doses are based on weight.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Albenza will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Albenza can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often. You will need frequent blood tests (every 2 weeks) to check your liver function.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Albenza?
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Albenza side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of bone marrow suppression–sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing, easy bruising or bleeding; or
liver problems–nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
dizziness, spinning sensation;
temporary hair loss.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Albenza?
Other drugs may interact with albendazole, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Albenza Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to albendazole: oral tablet, oral tablet chewable
Along with its needed effects, albendazole (the active ingredient contained in Albenza) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking albendazole:
Black, tarry stools
blood in the urine or stools
painful or difficult urination
pinpoint red spots on the skin
shortness of breath
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
joint or muscle pain
red, irritated eyes
stomach pain, continuing
tightness in the chest
yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects of albendazole may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Abdominal or stomach pain
Less common or rare
thinning or loss of the hair
Incidence not known
Lack or loss of strength
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to albendazole: compounding powder, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable
Side effects differed between hydatid disease and neurocysticercosis. Symptoms were generally mild and resolved without treatment. Therapy was discontinued primarily due to leukopenia (0.7%) or hepatic abnormalities (3.8% in hydatid disease).[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Elevated liver enzymes (up to 16%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatitis
Frequency not reported: Hepatotoxicity, hepatic abnormalities, jaundice, hepatocellular damage
Postmarketing reports: Acute liver failure[Ref]
Mild to moderate elevated liver enzymes were very common.
Severe hepatic abnormalities, including jaundice and hepatocellular damage (possibly irreversible), have been reported during prolonged higher dose treatment of hydatid disease.
Elevated liver enzymes and hepatitis have also been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Raised intracranial pressure, dizziness, neurological events
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vertigo, meningeal signs
Postmarketing reports: Somnolence, convulsion[Ref]
Headache has also been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Epigastric/abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, GI disturbances
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Diarrhea
Rare (less than 0.1%): Pancreatitis[Ref]
Upper GI symptoms (e.g., epigastric/abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting) and GI disturbances (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting) were reported.
Diarrhea has also been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Reversible alopecia (thinning of hair, moderate hair loss)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Itchiness, skin rashes
Postmarketing reports: Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome[Ref]
Reversible alopecia (thinning of hair and moderate hair loss) has also been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Fever has also been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Fever, hyperpyrexia
Postmarketing reports: Asthenia[Ref]
Agranulocytosis and pancytopenia have also been reported during postmarketing experience.
Patients with liver disease (including hepatic echinococcosis) appeared more susceptible to bone marrow suppression.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Leukopenia
Rare (less than 0.1%): Low red cell count, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia
Frequency not reported: Granulocytopenia, agranulocytosis
Postmarketing reports: Aplastic anemia, bone marrow suppression, neutropenia[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity reactions (including rash, pruritus, urticaria)[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Ocular maculopathy
Frequency not reported: Retinal damage
Postmarketing reports: Blurred vision[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Bone pain
Postmarketing reports: Rhabdomyolysis[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Proteinuria
Postmarketing reports: Acute renal failure[Ref]
- “Product Information. Albenza (albendazole).” SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.
- Cerner Multum, Inc. “Australian Product Information.” O 0
Some side effects of Albenza may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.