Treatment of hydatid disease

Paediatr Drugs. 2001;3(2):123-35. doi: 10.2165/00128072-200103020-00005.


Hydatid disease caused by Echinococcus granulosus presents medical, veterinary and economic problems worldwide. Hydatidosis can be treated by medical, surgical and percutaneous modalities. Benzoimidazole carbamates are effective against E. granulosus. Although mebendazole, the first benzoimidazole used, has some beneficial effects on the disease in selected patients, it has also been associated with treatment failure in some cases, perhaps because of its poor absorption. Albendazole, a more recently developed benzoimidazole, is more effective than mebendazole. Praziquantel, an isoquinoline derivative, has recently shown value in the treatment of human echinococcal disease and its use in combination with albendazole is recommended in some patients. Ultrasound guided cyst puncture is another choice of treatment which has been used successfully in selected patients, although anaphylactic and allergic reactions due to spillage of the cyst contents have occurred. Surgical therapy in echinococcal hydatid disease is indicated for large cysts with multiple daughter cysts, superficially located single liver cysts which have a risk of rupture, complicated cysts such as those accompanied by infection, compression or obstruction, and cysts located in vital organs or which are exerting pressure on adjacent vital organs. However, surgical therapy carries high risk of mortality, morbidity or recurrence. Therefore, medical therapy may be an alternative option in uncomplicated cysts and in patients at high risk from surgery. The adjuvant use of drugs with surgery and percutaneous treatment can also be recommended for some patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albendazole / adverse effects
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use
  • Anticestodal Agents / adverse effects
  • Anticestodal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzimidazoles / adverse effects
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Carbamates / adverse effects
  • Carbamates / therapeutic use
  • Echinococcosis / drug therapy*
  • Echinococcosis / surgery
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / drug therapy
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / surgery
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / surgery
  • Humans
  • Mebendazole / adverse effects
  • Mebendazole / therapeutic use
  • Praziquantel / adverse effects
  • Praziquantel / therapeutic use


  • Anticestodal Agents
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Carbamates
  • Praziquantel
  • Mebendazole
  • Albendazole