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January 1995

Medical Treatment of Cysticercosis—Ineffective

Author Affiliations

From the R. W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Spring House, Pa.

Arch Neurol. 1995;52(1):101-102. doi:10.1001/archneur.1995.00540250109020

The therapy of cysticercosis can be divided into two general categories: disease-directed therapy or symptomatic therapy. The disease-directed therapies include the cysticidal antihelminthic drugs (albendazole and praziquantel), surgical cyst extirpation, and observation without intervention. Symptomatic therapies include corticosteroids for intracranial edema and inflammation, antiepileptic drugs for secondarily acquired epilepsy, surgical procedures such as shunts, and various medications for headaches. Unfortunately, there have been no well-controlled trials to evaluate or compare any of these therapies; therefore, controversy persists.

The life cycle of the parasite, Taenia solium, may include man as either the intermediate host—although swine commonly occupy this niche—or the definite host.1 Antihelminthic drugs have proven effective in eliminating the intestinal adult tapeworm, when man serves the role of definitive host; no further remarks will be made concerning this indication for therapy. When man serves as intermediate host, the hexacanth embryo undergoes hematogenous transport until it comes to rest,