Visceral Larva Migrans Medication

Updated: May 14, 2018
  • Author: Raymond D Pitetti, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Children can be treated with an anthelmintic agent. Severe infections should be treated with systemic corticosteroids.



Class Summary

Historically, the treatment of visceral larva migrans (VLM) in adults and children was primarily symptomatic. However, the identification of anthelmintics (eg, thiabendazole, diethylcarbamazine) in the 1960s offered an effective therapeutic choice. Anthelmintics act against the migrating larvae.

Parasite biochemical pathways are different from the human host; thus, toxicity is directed to the parasite, egg, or larvae. The mechanism of action varies within the drug class. Antiparasitic actions may include the following:

- Inhibition of microtubules causes irreversible block of glucose uptake

- Tubulin polymerization inhibition

- Depolarizing neuromuscular blockade

- Cholinesterase inhibition

- Increased cell membrane permeability, resulting in intracellular calcium loss

- Vacuolization of the schistosome tegument

- Increased cell membrane permeability to chloride ions via chloride channels alteration

Mebendazole (Vermox)

Selectively and irreversibly blocks the uptake of glucose and other nutrients in susceptible intestine-dwelling helminths.

Thiabendazole (Mintezol)

Inhibits mitochondrial formate reductase, which is specific for helminth.

Albendazole (Albenza)

Acts primarily by inhibiting tubulin polymerization, resulting in the loss of cytoplasmic microtubules. Tends to be most effective against larval forms.