Diethylcarbamazine is used to treat microfilaria. It is also used for the treatment of filariasis and onchocerciasis.


What is Diethylcarbamazine?

Diethylcarbamazine is an anthelmintic drug that is used to treat certain worm infections (such as filariasis).  The mechanism of action of diethylcarbamazine is thought to involve sensitizing the microfilariae of the reticuloendothelial system to phagocytosis. It reduces muscle activity and immobilizes the parasite as well as the production of microfilariae. Microfilariae are parasitic nematodes in the family Onchocercidae (Wuchereria bancrofti, Wuchereria malayi, Brugia malayi, Brugia pahangi, Loa loa, Onchocerca volvulus, and Ascaris lumbricoides).


How should Diethylcarbamazine be taken?

Diethylcarbamazine is administered orally in the form of highly soluble citrate salt. It is readily and rapidly absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract, the skin and the conjunctiva. This drug is eliminated through urine.


Side effects associated with Diethylcarbamazine

Diethylcarbamazine may present side effects, however, they are not severe as to cause discontinuation of treatment. Side effects include the following:


  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Arthralgia
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash
  • Itch


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Diethylcarbamazine

Basic treatment with Diethylcarbamazine must be monitored closely. This is because allergic reactions are quite common and they may occur in severe form.