A clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of 4- and 6-mo repeated treatment with albendazole 600 mg (Zentel®, SmithKline Beecham) or mebendazole 600 mg (Vermox®, Janssen) on geohelminth infections was carried out on children in 6 primary schools; the study included 1,186 children, ages 4 to 19 yr. Kato–Katz examination was performed on stool samples before and after treatment. Overall, albendazole produced better cure rates and egg reduction rates for geohelminths. The cure rates for albendazole were 92.4% for hookworm infection, 83.5% for Ascaris lumbricoides, and 67.8% for Trichuris trichiura. Mebendazole given either 2 or 3 times in a year had cure rates of 50 and 55.0% (respectively) for hookworm, 79.6 and 97.5% for A. lumbricoides, and 60.6 and 68.3% for T. trichiura infection. The geometric mean intensity of hookworm eggs per gram (epg) of stool decreased by 96.7% after albendazole treatment compared with 66.3 and 85.1%, respectively, for 2 or 3 doses of mebendazole (P < 0.05) over the same period. Reductions in epg for A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura were comparable for both drugs. Our results indicate that treatment with albendazole at a 6-mo interval was more effective than mebendazole regimens and may be the best choice for use in the control of the 3 geohelminths.
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