Drugs Five Years Later: Mebendazole

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The broad-spectrum of activity and safety of mebendazole remain, after 5 years of clinical experience, unique features of this anthelmintic. Through microtubular destruction, mebendazole kills helminths by inhibiting glucose uptake into susceptible parasites. The drug's poor absorption does not appear to affect clinical efficacy except, perhaps, in the treatment of systemic helminth infections. Mebendazole is generally considered the drug of choice for trichuriasis and has therapeutic advantages over other anthelmintics in the treatment of enterobiasis and hookworm infections. Although mebendazole is an effective agent against ascariasis, there are preferable alternatives. Among its nonapproved uses, mebendazole shows great promise in the treatment of capillariasis and hydatid disease. Further investigation is needed to establish its role in the treatment of taeniasis, Hymenolepsis nana, strongyloidiasis, trichinosis, and Dipetalonema perstans. Undoubtedly, mebendazole will find its greatest value in the treatment of patients with multiple helminth infections.

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