Intramedullary cysticercosis cured with drug treatment. A case report

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996 Oct 1;21(19):2284-7. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199610010-00023.


Study design: A report of a patient with cervical intramedullary cysticercosis is presented.

Objectives: To report the first case of intramedullary. cysticercosis cured with drug management only, which supports the hypothesis that management with anthelmintics might be successfully used in this form of cysticercosis.

Summary of background data: Intramedullary cysticercosis is a rare manifestation of neurocysticercosis. Every treated patient reported to date has undergone surgery, frequently necessary for diagnosis. Since the anthelmintics praziquantel and albendazole were shown to be effective in parenchymal brain cysticercosis, these drugs have been considered potentially useful in patients with intramedullary cysticercosis. Nevertheless, no case yet had been reported to be cared with only medical therapy.

Methods: The treatment of a patient who suffered multiple cysticercal reinfestations of the nervous system is presented.

Results: The patient received prolonged treatment with albendazole because of superimposed cerebral reinfestations. During this treatment, she suffered acute paraparesis, and cervical magnetic resonance imaging showed cyst-like lesions with linear gadolinium enhancement and perilesional edema, indicative of dying cysticerci and inflammatory host reaction. Dexamethasone was added, and progressive neurologic improvement followed with complete resolution of intramedullary lesions.

Conclusions: A preoperative diagnostic suspicion of cysticercosis is important in patients with intramedullary cystic lesions because specific drug treatment is available. Treatment with anthelmintics, particularly albendazole, should be considered in patients with intramedullary cysticercosis before surgery. Corticosteroids may be added to the therapeutic regimen because this may reduce the perilesional edema and prevent neurologic deterioration during the course of anthelmintic treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use*
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Cysticercosis / diagnosis
  • Cysticercosis / drug therapy*
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Dexamethasone
  • Albendazole