Preventive chemotherapy for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis by cotreatment with praziquantel and albendazole

Author(s): J Russell Stothard, Amaya Bustinduy & Antonio Montresor

In disease-endemic areas, preventive chemotherapy with two orally administered anthelminthic drugs, praziquantel and albendazole, forms the foundation of control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Where diseases overlap, these two drugs are typically co-administered simultaneously, although albendazole is often interchangeable with mebendazole. With a supportive pharmaceutical industry that donates drugs and a strong international partnership that mobilizes donor funds for drug delivery, scale-up of treatment in school-aged children has expanded significantly in line with the WHO 2012–2020 strategic plan. Other high-risk groups, such as pre-school-aged children, are now benefiting from deworming campaigns conducted alongside other childhood interventions, such as vaccination, less so, however, for schistosomiasis as infections in this age class are not being treated. Looking to the future, maintaining an effective drug distribution and reporting system that regularly checks anthelminthic performance alongside documenting improvements in child health are essential for the long-term success of preventive chemotherapy with praziquantel and albendazole.