Diethylcarbamazine (oral)

Diethylcarbamazine is used to kill worms that have infested the body. It will work only in the treatment of certain types of worm infections.

Overview

Diethylcarbamazine is used to kill a number of worm parasites that can infect the human body. It is used in the treatment of the following worms:

  • River blindness
  • Loiasis
  • Eosinophilic lung
  • Bancroft's filariasis

This treatment will not work to kill other forms of worms that might infect the body and will not work on tapeworms or pinworms.

Diethylcarbamazine can also be used as a preventative measure in patients who are exposed to an extreme risk of loiasis.

Diethylcarbamazine is only available when purchased by a doctor. It is administered in tablet form to patients.

Condition treated

  • River blindness
  • Loiasis
  • Eosinophilic lung
  • Bancroft's filariasis

Type Of Medicine

  • Anthelmintic drug

Side Effects

In addition to the required effects of Diethylcarbamazine, other unwanted side effects may occur. Some side effects can be serious and may require that the patient seeks emergency medical attention. Other side effects may only be mild and need not cause concern.

The following side effects will require immediate medical attention and you should contact your doctor straight away:

Occurring commonly:

  • Itching and swelling of the face
  • Itching and swelling of the eyes

Occurring less commonly:

  • Swollen and tender glands in armpit, neck or groin
  • Skin rashes

Occurring only rarely:

  • Loss of vision
  • Changed vision
  • Night blindness
  • Tunnel vision

Other side effects from the use of Diethylcarbamazine may also occur that would not normally require that you seek the attention of a medical professional. These side effects are normally mild and will abate over time. They are also not indicative of wider medical problems that may be occurring. If these side effects become bothersome or are ongoing, you should contact your doctor for advice:

Other side effects that are not listed herein may also occur. If you experience other side effects then you should contact your doctor for advice. If you are concerned about your immediate health, however, then you should always contact the emergency services.

Dosage

Diethylcarbamazine should be taken after eating and should not be taken on an empty stomach.

In order to ensure that the infection is completely cured it is important to take this treatment for the full course. Your symptoms may abate and end before this, but there is still a chance that there are still living worms infecting your body. Completing the course will ensure that the infection is completely cleared and will prevent a resurgence when you cease use. In some cases, patients may require a second course of the treatment to completely clear the infection.

You should do your utmost not to miss any doses of this medication. This medication needs to be taken regularly in order to ensure complete eradication of the worms in your body.

This medication will be prescribed in different doses for different patients and you should take it only as has been prescribed for you and for your condition. Misuse of this treatment can lead to serious side effects occurring. Before use, you should read the directions and you should consult your doctor if you have any questions about use. The following dosing information is a guideline only and you should not make any changes to your dose or frequency of use unless advised to by your doctor.

For treatment with the oral tablet form:

When treating loiasis, river blindness, and Bancroft's filariasis.

  • Adults 'Dose of treatment will be based on the patient's body weight. The dose given is usually 2-3mg/kg taken thrice daily.
  • Children' Use in children must be determined in each case by the prescribing doctor.

When treating eosinophilic lung:

  • Adults ' Dose of treatment will be based on the patient's body weight. The dose given is usually 6mg/kg taken once daily. This treatment must be taken for four to seven days depending on the prescription.
  • Children 'Use in children must be determined in each case by the prescribing doctor.

If a dose of this treatment is missed, you should take it as soon as you are able to. If you are close to your next dose, however, then you should skip the missed dose and return to your usual schedule.

Never take a double dose of this treatment.

Interactions

Before using any medication it is important that you inform your doctor of any other treatments that you are taking. This is because they can interact in the body with severe consequences. In some cases, medications may cause severe and potentially life-threatening side effects and in others, they will simply stop each other from working. Before you begin treatment with Diethylcarbamazine you should inform your doctor of all other medications that you are taking to ensure that there are no drug interactions that may occur and put you at risk. This includes all medications whether they are prescribed, over the counter treatments, vitamin supplements or herbal remedies.

Medications can also interact with other foods, drinks, alcohol, and tobacco. You should discuss your alcohol and tobacco use with your doctor before you begin use of this treatment.

Other medical conditions from which you suffer may also prohibit the use of this treatment. You should ensure that your doctor is aware of your full medical history before beginning treatment and this includes conditions that have occurred in the past that you are recovered from.

Warnings

In making the decision to take this treatment you must consider the risks of treatment in relation to the benefits of treatment. You should weigh the relevant factors listed herein with your doctor. For the use of Diethylcarbamazine you should ensure that you have considered all of the following factors:

Allergies 'You should inform your doctor of any unusual allergic reactions that you have had to medications in the past. Allergies to medications may prohibit use of this treatment. You should also inform your doctor of any other allergies you have to other substances as these may also affect the decision to take Diethylcarbamazine.

Pediatric ' There is no specific information available about the use of Diethylcarbamazine. There are not, however, any anticipated age-related complications that may occur. You should discuss child use with your doctor before beginning treatment to understand the risks.

Geriatric 'No specific tests have been carried out on the use of this treatment in relation to elderly patients. There is not, however, expected to be any differences in use or effect in elderly patients with the use of Diethylcarbamazine.

If you do not experience an improvement in the symptoms of your condition after a few days then you should consult your doctor for advice. You may need to be given an increased dose or an alternative medication to treat the infection.

Patients taking Diethylcarbamazine for the treatment of river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, should follow the following guidelines:

  • Your doctor will need to regularly check on your progress during treatment for this condition. This will enable the doctor to make certain that the infection has been completely cleared.
  • You may also need to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist both during and after treatment. This will help to determine if there is any lasting damage and enable you to get the right treatment if there is.
  • Doctors may also prescribe you with an additional corticosteroid treatment if your symptoms of river blindness are severe. The death of the worms can cause inflammation of the eye and this additional treatment will help to reduce this inflammation and swelling. If you are prescribed both treatments together then it is essential that you take them exactly as your doctor has directed you to. You should not miss any doses and should take them exactly at the time required.

Diethylcarbamazine can cause a decrease in the quality of vision. Side effects can include the following:

  • Loss of vision
  • Night blindness
  • Tunnel vision

If you experience any of these side effects then you should visit your doctor or your ophthalmologist if you have one.

This medication may make you dizzy, confused or disorientated. It can also make you lightheaded and drowsy. You should learn how this treatment affects you before you drive or operate machinery. You may need to wait a short while after taking this treatment before doing so. Remember that it is always your legal responsibility to ensure that you are safe to operate this pieces of equipment before doing so.

If you are dizzy and less alert than usual consistently after taking this treatment then you should consult your doctor for advice on how to alleviate this.

Patients receiving treatment with Diethylcarbamazine should not take any other medications while they are being treated. If you need to take other medications then you should consult your doctor for advice first.

Storage

Diethylcarbamazine tablets should always be stored at normal room temperature. They should be kept away from, moisture, heat and from direct light. They should be kept from freezing at all times.

Keep out of the reach of children at all times.

Dispose of outdated and unwanted medication promptly as direct by your healthcare professional.

Summary

Diethylcarbamazine is used in the treatment of parasitic worm infections. It can be used to treat infections of the eye, lung and certain other infections too.

The medication is administered as a tablet and is given as a course of treatment that must be completed in full. Some patients may need to take two courses of the treatment to completely kill the infection.

Diethylcarbamazine is prescribed based on body weight and will be different for each condition and for the different weight of the patient. It is available only with a prescription from a doctor.

Patients receiving this treatment must take in on schedule as determined by the doctor in order for it to be fully effective.

Patients with river blindness may also be treated with a corticosteroid in addition to this treatment.