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Albendazole Monotherapy for Pediatric Cystic Echinococcosis: A Case Series.

Acta Parasitologica 2023 July 20
BACKGROUND: Data regarding albendazole monotherapy for cystic echinococcosis (CE) are scarce, especially in children. We report our experience treating CE in children with albendazole monotherapy.

METHODS: A retrospective case series, 2005-2021, assessing factors leading to albendazole monotherapy, demographic, clinical, duration of treatment and follow-up, and outcome (changes in cyst size and side effects) characteristics.

RESULTS: Overall, we identified 18 patients with 31 cysts; liver: 68% (n = 21), lungs: 29% (n = 9), and kidney: 3% (n = 1). Mean cyst size was 4.5 ± 2.6 cm. Reasons for administrating albendazole monotherapy were small (< 4 cm) cyst size (56%), difficulty to operate (33%) and comorbidity (22%). Duration of treatment (range 1-32 months) was 1, 2-3, 4-6 and > 6 months in 28% (n = 5), 39% (n = 7), 17% (n = 3) and 17% (n = 3) of children, respectively. Duration of follow up (range 1-87 months) was 1, 2-3, 4-6 and > 6 months in 11% (n = 2), 11% (n = 2), 17% (n = 3) and 61% (n = 11) of children, respectively. Overall, 83% (n = 15) of patients experienced lack of cyst growth, and 72% (n = 13) experienced reduction in cyst size, while 44% (n = 8) experienced reduction larger than 50%. Full resolution was noted in 22% (n = 4) of patients. In three cases (17%) treatment failure was recorded: one (6%) recurrence, and two cases (11%) of cyst growth. Neutropenia was recorded in two patients (11%), and liver enzymes elevation was recorded in six patients (33%).

CONCLUSIONS: Albendazole monotherapy may be an adequate treatment for selected cases of CE disease in children, especially in CE with small, hepatic cysts.

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