The drugs we have and the drugs we need against major helminth infections

Adv Parasitol. 2010;73:197-230. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(10)73008-6.


Parasitic worms (helminths) have accompanied humans for thousands of years and, still today, they are pervasive where poverty persists, including large parts of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific Region. The global strategy for the control of helminth infections is morbidity control and elimination as a public health problem. Regular administration of anthelminthic drugs to at-risk populations (e.g. school-aged children) serves as the backbone of interventions in areas where helminth infections are highly endemic. In this review, we focus on soil-transmitted helminthiasis (ascariasis, hookworm disease, strongyloidiasis and trichuriasis) and food-borne trematodiasis (clonorchiasis, fascioliasis, intestinal fluke infections, opisthorchiasis and paragonimiasis) and discuss the few drugs that are currently available for their treatment and control. Emphasis is placed on efficacy with new light shed on multiple dosing and combination therapy. We summarise recent advances made with anthelminthic drugs that might become the future armentarium for the control of major helminthiasis (e.g. artemisinins, cyclooctadepsipeptides, mefloquine, monepantel, nitazoxandide, synthetic peroxides and tribendimidine). Issuing from our review are current research gaps and the need for concerted efforts to discover, develop and deploy the next generation of anthelminthic drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / administration & dosage*
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Asia, Southeastern / epidemiology
  • Australasia / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Helminthiasis / drug therapy*
  • Helminthiasis / epidemiology*
  • Helminthiasis / prevention & control
  • Helminths / drug effects*
  • Humans


  • Anthelmintics