Albendazole for lymphatic filariasis

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = C
Albendazole, either alone or in combination with ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine, may be effective on lymphatic filariasis but the evidence is inconclusive.

A Cochrane review 1 included seven studies with a total of 6997 participants (995 with detectable microfilariae). There was no difference between albendazole and placebo in the effect on microfilariae prevalence (920 participants; 3 trials); one trial (499 participants) reported significantly lower microfilariae density at six months. Albendazole performed slightly worse than ivermectin in two trials (436 participants). Compared with diethylcarbamazine (DEC), two small trials (56 participants) found little difference in microfilariae prevalence over an extended follow up. One larger trial (502 participants) found a statistically significant effect for DEC at six months, but none at three months. Microfilariae prevalence and density were statistically significantly lower with the combination of albendazole and ivermectin compared with ivermectin alone in two of three trials (649 participants). Two trials compared albendazole plus DEC with DEC alone and found no statistically significant difference in microfilariae prevalence, though one trial favoured the combination at six months (relative risk 0.62, 95% confidence interval 0.32 to 1.21; 491 participants). This trial also found a statistically significant reduction in microfilariae density.

Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by imprecise results (limited study size for each comparison) and by inconsistency (variability in results across studies).

References

1. Critchley J, Addiss D, Gamble C, Garner P, Gelband H, Ejere H, International Filariasis Review Group. Albendazole for lymphatic filariasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005 Oct 19;(4):CD003753.  [PMID:16235339]


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