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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2004 Apr;98(4):205-17.

Safety, tolerability, efficacy and plasma concentrations of diethylcarbamazine and albendazole co-administration in a field study in an area endemic for lymphatic filariasis in India.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, New MS Building, 1st Floor, Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai 400 012, India.

Erratum in

  • Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2004 May;98(5):329.


Filariasis control programmes are moving towards a strategy of repeated single-dose mass treatment of endemic populations. Using a combination, such as albendazole (ALB) to diethylcarbamazine (DEC) gives both macrofilaricidal and anti-helmintic activity. However, the safety of the combination versus DEC alone should be established in field studies in large populations prior to incorporation into national programmes. The present study compared the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of single doses of DEC 6 mg/kg + ALB placebo with DEC 6 mg/kg + ALB 400 mg in populations living in two filariasis endemic villages in the district of Wardha in western India. The study was double blind, parallel group, and randomized. Safety and tolerability study were studied in males and females older than 5 years. Safety was assessed by monitoring if adverse events (AEs) over 5 days affected daily acivities. Subjects in the 2 treatment groups experienced insignificantly different effects on daily activities and the combination was shown to be safe. Efficacy was evaluated by microfilaraemia (Mf), immunochromatographic test (ICT) and ultrasonography (USG) at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months of follow up. The efficacy study enrolled 103 male patients (aged 18-50 years) in microfilariae positive, clinical disease and asymptomatic, amicrofilaremic groups. There was no significant difference in efficacy between groups at 12 months. Within the Mf positive group, significant differences were seen in microfilaraemia (P < 0.001) with both treatments, and in USG (P < 0.001 and P < 0.004 respectively), at 12 months. The present field study has shown the combination of DEC + ALB to be as safe as the single drug DEC and thus the combination can be put in use in the national filariasis control programmes. Both drugs were adequately absorbed. The study at present does not provide evidence for the greater efficacy of the combination at 12 months follow up. While the safety of the combination has been ascertained, the incorporation or otherwise of ALB into national programmes for greater efficacy must await results of studies with longer follow up.

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