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Lancet. 1990 Jun 9;335(8702):1377-80.

Safety of and compliance with community-based ivermectin therapy.

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  • 1Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


In a study of the safety, acceptability, and efficacy of ivermectin for community-based mass treatment of onchocerciasis, the drug was issued twice, one year apart, to the population of a rubber plantation (14,000 people) in Liberia, where over 80% of the adults have Onchocerca volvulus infection. The plantation microfilarial load in a sample of adults was reduced by 86% 6 months after initial treatment and by 78% after 1 year. Compliance was 97% with each round of treatment. After the initial treatment of 7699 people, 101 (1.3%) had moderate adverse reactions. After re-treatment only 37 (0.5%) people had moderate adverse reactions. No ivermectin-related death or severe adverse reactions occurred. The data show that community-based treatment with ivermectin is well accepted and effective in reducing microfilarial loads. Ivermectin is likely to provide the first realistic means of chemotherapy-based control of onchocerciasis on a mass scale.

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