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Drugs. 1991 Oct;42(4):640-58.

Ivermectin. A review of its antifilarial activity, pharmacokinetic properties and clinical efficacy in onchocerciasis.

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Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


Ivermectin, a derivative of avermectin B, is an orally effective microfilaricidal agent. It is the current drug of choice for treating patients infected with the nematode Onchocerca volvulus, which is a major cause of blindness in inhabitants of some tropical areas. Ivermectin is administered orally as a single dose of 150 micrograms/kg given annually. Skin and ocular microfilarial counts are dramatically reduced after the first dose, with some evidence for a resulting decrease in transmission of infection by the blackfly vector. With the exception of rare serious reactions such as severe systemic postural hypotension, ivermectin is generally well tolerated. The drug has the clear advantages of ease of administration and better tolerability compared with diethylcarbamazine and suramin, agents previously used to treat onchocerciasis. Thus, ivermectin is suitable for inclusion in mass treatment programmes and is the best therapeutic option presently available to combat onchocerciasis. As such it provides hope for many thousands of people at risk of becoming blind, and represents a major contribution to tropical medicine.

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