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Albenza is a member of the benzimidazole compounds used as a drug indicated for the treatment of a variety of worm infestations. It is a broad spectrum anthelmintic, effective against: roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes of domestic animals and humans.
As a vermicidal, albendazole causes degenerative alterations in the tegument and intestinal cells of the worm by binding to the colchicine-sensitive site of tubulin, thus inhibiting its polymerization or assembly into microtubules. The loss of the cytoplasmic microtubules leads to impaired uptake of glucose by the larval and adult stages of the susceptible parasites, and depletes their glycogen stores. Degenerative changes in the endoplasmic reticulum, the mitochondria of the germinal layer, and the subsequent release of lysosomes result in decreased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy required for the survival of the helminth. Due to diminished energy production, the parasite is immobilized and eventually dies.
Before taking albendazole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzimidazole anthelmintic drugs (e.g., mebendazole); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, biliary tract problems (e.g., blockage), blood/bone marrow disorders.
This medication may cause liver problems. Because drinking alcohol increases the risk of liver problems, limit alcoholic beverages while using this medication. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Store between 20° and 25°C (68° and 77°F). Keep away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Albenza out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Do not take when pregnant, and do not become pregnant for one month after taking this drug.
Dosing of ALBENZA (albendazole) will vary, depending upon which of the following parasitic infections is being treated. In young children, the tablets should be crushed or chewed and swallowed with a drink of water.
Albenza is best taken with meals, especially with food containing fat, to help your body absorb the medicine better.
For patients taking the tablet form of albenza:
Tablets should be swallowed whole with a small amount of liquid.
To help clear up your infection completely, take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor for the full time of treatment . In some infections, additional treatments with this medicine may be needed at 2-week intervals to clear up the infection completely. Do not miss any doses.
Stop taking the medicine and check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- skin rash or itching
- sore throat
- unusual tiredness and weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal pain
- Thinning or loss of hair
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Albenza may cause dizziness, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, or temporary hair loss.
In rare cases it may cause persistent sore throat, severe headache, seizures, vision problems, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, stomach pain, easy bruising, mental/mood changes, very stiff neck, change in amount of urine. Elevation of liver enzymes during treatment is a common side effect, but in rare cases there have also been reports of acute liver failure. Allergic reactions are also possible.
Rarely Albenza has been reported to cause marrow suppression, agranulocytosis or aplastic anemia which may be permanent. The risk of developing this side effect seems to be increased in patients with liver disease, including echinococcal cysts. Because of this dangerous side effect it is important to regularly monitor complete blood counts.