Is the exclusion of children under 24 months from anthelmintic treatment justifiable?

Antonio Montresor, Rebecca J. Stoltzfus, Marco Albonico, James M. Tielsch, Amy L. Rice, Hababu M. Chwaya, Lorenzo Savioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


There are no reports documenting toxicity or adverse effects after treatment of children aged < 24 months with benzimidazole derivatives and there is an urgent need to clarify this point in light of the potential detrimental effect that soil-transmitted helminthiasis has on this age-group. A total of 653 treatments (317 mebendazole 500 mg; 336 placebo) were administered in 1996/97 to 212 children aged < 24 months as part of a 1-year anthelmintic drug study conducted among preschool-age children in Tanzania. Data on fever, cough, diarrhoea, dysentery and acute respiratory illness were collected 1 week following the treatment. No differences between the occurrence of adverse effects in the 2 groups were observed. In light of the potential nutritional benefit achieved by regular deworming in this young age-group, the policy that excludes children aged < 24 months from treatment should be re-considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-199
Number of pages3
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse effects
  • Age
  • Anthelmintics
  • Children
  • Children under 2 years
  • Clinical trial
  • Mebendazole
  • Safety
  • Tanzania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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