A combination of albendazole and a corticosteroid can effectively treat neurocysticercosis, a tapeworm CNS infection that is the most preventable cause of epilepsy, according to the AAN’s “Evidence-based Guideline: Treatment of Parenchymal Neurocysticercosis,” published in the April 9, 2013, issue of Neurology®.
Neurocysticercosis is a CNS infection of the brain or spinal cord caused by the tapeworm Taenia solium. The tapeworm can also cause taeniasis, an infection of the intestines. If the infection does not spread beyond the intestines, the patient may be asymptomatic for years. If the infection spreads to the CNS, it can cause seizures or epilepsy, or encephalopathy and other symptoms. Infections have occurred mostly in developing countries, but they are now on the rise in developed countries, including the United States. About two million people worldwide have epilepsy from this tapeworm, which, according to the World Health Organization, is the most common preventable epilepsy in the developing world.
“It is critical for neurologists and other providers to recognize this infection,” said lead author Karen Roos, MD, FAAN. “This previously rare disease in the United States is increasingly prevalent, and the infection and its sequelae are preventable.”
Read the guideline and access PDF summaries for clinicians and patients, a slide presentation, and a clinical example. For more information, email Julie Cox or call (612) 928-6069.