What is albendazole?
Albendazole is an anti-parasitic prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of two parasitic infections: neurocysticercosis and hydatid disease.
Albendazole can also be used “off-label” to treat opportunistic infections of HIV infection.
- “Off-label” use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used “off-label.”
- An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
What HIV-related opportunistic infections is albendazole used for?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the “off-label” HIV-related uses of albendazole to treat:
- Microsporidiosis, including disseminated infection and intestinal infection caused by certain types of microsporidia.
- Microsporidiosis, to clear infection from the body (systemically) during ocular infection.
The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of albendazole recommended in the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking albendazole?
Before taking albendazole, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to albendazole or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, diabetes or liver problems.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Albendazole may cause harm to an unborn baby. Women should not begin treatment with albendazole until after a negative pregnancy test. Women should not become pregnant while on albendazole or within 1 month of completing treatment. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking albendazole when pregnant.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Albendazole may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how albendazole works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between albendazole and the other medicines you take.
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from albendazole. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How should I take albendazole?
Take albendazole according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much albendazole to take and when to take it. Before you start albendazole and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should albendazole be stored?
- Store albendazole tablets at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
- Do not use albendazole if the original seal over the bottle opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away albendazole that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep albendazole and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about albendazole?
More information about albendazole is available:
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated)
Last Reviewed: April 6, 2015