Neurocysticercosis is an infection of the central nervous system caused by the Taenia solium larvae. The condition is considered the most common type of acquired epilepsy around the world. In Latin America, for example, the disease affects about 400,000 people.
New research shows an antiparasitic drug appears to help people avoid seizures caused by a common parasite.
Researchers speculated treatment with the antiparasitic drug albendazole which they thought might help these patients reduce the number of seizures they experience. They randomized 120 patients with signs of the living parasite in their brains to receive either 800 milligrams of albendazole per day and 6 milligrams of another drug, dexamethasone, per day for 10 days, or two placebo drugs.
Investigators noted a 46-percent reduction in the number of seizures in the albendazole group, although they say this number is not statistically significant. However, the active treatment did lead to a significant reduction in seizures classified as seizures with generalization. Patients taking the active drug also showed greater healing of the cystic lesions in the brain when compared to those on placebo.
Based on their findings researchers conclude that Antiparasitic therapy decreases the burden of parasites and is safe and effective, at least in reducing the number of seizures with generalization.