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Trop Med Int Health. 1997 Apr;2(4):393-403.

Ivermectin for the chemotherapy of bancroftian filariasis: a meta-analysis of the effect of single treatment.

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Centre for Decision Sciences in Tropical Disease Control, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The efficacy and safety of ivermectin in the treatment of filariasis due to Wuchereria bancrofti was assessed by a meta-analysis of the results from 15 published clinical trials. Seven hundred and forty-eight microfilaraemic patients were enrolled in 7 dose-finding and 8 comparative studies. Administered as a single dose, ivermectin induced nearly complete clearance of microfilariae from the blood from the first day to 30 days post-treatment, followed by gradual recurrence of microfilaraemia and increase in its intensity. Higher doses of ivermectin showed greater clearance effects and maintained lower microfilaraemia levels for a longer time. The adverse reactions caused by the drug were flu-like, transient, generally mild and well tolerated by patients. The frequency and intensity of adverse reactions were strongly associated with pretreatment microfilaria counts in the blood, but independent of dose. The findings of the meta-analysis suggest that ivermectin given at a single annual dose of 200 micrograms/kg body weight or higher, whether or not in combination with DEC, has great potential for therapeutic strategies to control bancroftian filariasis.

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