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All about: Albenza

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Generic Name: albendazole (al BEN da zole)
Brand Names: Albenza

What is Albenza (albendazole)?

Albendazole is an anthelmintic (an-thel-MIN-tik) or anti-worm medication. It prevents newly hatched insect larvae (worms) from growing or multiplying in your body.

Albendazole is used to treat certain infections caused by worms such as pork tapeworm and dog tapeworm.

Albendazole may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Albenza (albendazole)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to albendazole, or to similar medications such as mebendazole (Vermox).

Before using albendazole, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have liver disease or have ever had abnormal liver function tests.

Do not use albendazole if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using albendazole, and for at least 1 month after your treatment ends. Take albendazole with food to lessen stomach upset. Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Albendazole will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Albendazole is sometimes used as part of a combination treatment with steroids and medicine to prevent seizures. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor.

Albendazole can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Albenza (albendazole)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to albendazole, or to similar medications such as mebendazole (Vermox).

Before using albendazole, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease; or

  • if you have ever had abnormal liver function tests.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use albendazole, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use albendazole if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using albendazole, and for at least 1 month after your treatment ends.

Your doctor may ask you to have a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant before you take albendazole.

It is not known whether albendazole passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Albenza (albendazole)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Albendazole should be taken with food.

If you have trouble swallowing an albendazole tablet, you may crush the tablet and stir it into a small amount of water. Drink this mixture right away and do not save it for later use. You may also chew the tablet and then drink a full glass of water to swallow it.

Albendazole is sometimes given in a cycle of 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks of not taking the drug. This cycle is usually repeated until a total of 3 cycles have been given.

Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Albendazole will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Albendazole is sometimes used as part of a combination treatment with steroids and medicine to prevent seizures. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor.

Albendazole can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store albendazole at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of an albendazole overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking Albenza (albendazole)?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Albenza (albendazole) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • unusual weakness; or

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • stomach pain;

  • nausea, vomiting;

  • headache; or

  • temporary hair loss.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Albenza (albendazole)?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB);

  • dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol);

  • praziquantel (Biltricide); or

  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Slo-Bid, Theo-Dur, Uniphyl, and others).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use albendazole, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect albendazole. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about albendazole written for health professionals that you may read.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.06. Revision Date: 07/12/2007 6:53:46 PM.

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