Also Known As: Praziquantel, Biltricide
Praziquantel (Biltricide) is an anthelmintic effective against flatworms. Praziquantel is not licensed for use in humans in the UK; it is, however, available as a veterinary anthelmintic, and is available for use in humans on a named-patient basis.
Although the mode of action is not exactly known at present, there is experimental evidence that praziquantel increases the permeability of the membranes of schistosome cells towards calcium ions. The drug thereby induces contraction of the parasites, resulting in paralysis in the contracted state. The dying parasites are dislodged from their site of action in the host organism and may enter systemic circulation or may be destroyed by host immune reaction (phagocytosis). Additional mechanisms including focal disintegrations and disturbances of oviposition (laying of eggs) are seen in other types of sensitive parasites.
The majority of side effects develop due to the release of the contents of the parasites as they are killed and the consequent host immune reaction. The heavier the parasite burden, the heavier and more frequent the side effects normally are