Repurposing the anthelmintic drug niclosamide to combat Helicobacter pylori

Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 27;8(1):3701. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22037-x.


There is an urgent need to discover novel antimicrobial therapies. Drug repurposing can reduce the time and cost risk associated with drug development. We report the inhibitory effects of anthelmintic drugs (niclosamide, oxyclozanide, closantel, rafoxanide) against Helicobacter pylori strain 60190 and pursued further characterization of niclosamide against H. pylori. The MIC of niclosamide against H. pylori was 0.25 μg/mL. Niclosamide was stable in acidic pH and demonstrated partial synergy with metronidazole and proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole and pantoprazole. Niclosamide administration at 1 × MIC concentration, eliminated 3-log10 CFU of H. pylori adhesion/invasion to AGS cells. Interestingly, no resistance developed even after exposure of H. pylori bacteria to niclosamide for 30 days. The cytotoxic assay demonstrated that niclosamide is not hemolytic and has an IC50 of 4 μg/mL in hepatic and gastric cell lines. Niclosamide administration decreased transmembrane pH as determined by DiSC3(5) assay indicating that the mechanism of action of the anti-H. pylori activity of niclosamide was the disruption of H. pylori proton motive force. Niclosamide was effective in the Galleria mellonella-H. pylori infection model (p = 0.0001) and it can be develop further to combat H. pylori infection. However, results need to be confirmed with other H. pylori and clinical strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Repositioning / methods
  • Drug Synergism
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Niclosamide / pharmacology*
  • Omeprazole / pharmacology
  • Oxyclozanide / pharmacology
  • Pantoprazole / pharmacology
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rafoxanide / pharmacology
  • Salicylanilides / pharmacology


  • Anthelmintics
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Salicylanilides
  • Oxyclozanide
  • Rafoxanide
  • Niclosamide
  • Pantoprazole
  • closantel
  • Omeprazole