Biltricide general information
What is Biltricide used for?
Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is a tropical disease caused by the parasitic worm Schistosoma or blood fluke, which is a trematode flatworm that can live in the body, causing havoc for many years. It is found only in tropical parts of the world, including Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Middle East, India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Southeast Asia and South America. Biltricide tablets 600mg are a dewormer medication, used to treat infection with the various species of Schistosoma, including S. mansoni, S. japonicum, S. haematobium and S. mekongi, to relieve symptoms and prevent the spread of schistosomiasis.
Transmission of schistosomiasis
The parasite divides its life cycle between two hosts, a freshwater snail and humans. The spread of infection is mainly due to poor hygiene, which, in addition to local habits of swimming, bathing and washing in freshwater rivers and lakes, or local agriculture such as planting rice, enables the cycle of infection to continue. The larval form of the parasite develops in the snail, and the infectious larvae, known as cercariae, are shed into the water where they can survive for up to 48 hours. The cercariae infect their human host by penetrating the exposed skin of anyone unfortunate enough to be swimming, washing or wading in parasite-infested water. The larvae enter the bloodstream and develop into adult schistosomes within the blood vessels, where the females produce their eggs. The adult worm and the eggs can remain in the blood vessels or migrate throughout the body. If the eggs travel to the intestines or bladder, they are released in the faeces or urine back into the contaminated water. If they remain in the body, they can become trapped in the body tissues and clog up the organs, causing serious health problems. Once the eggs enter the water, they hatch and find their way back into the freshwater snail to begin the cycle again.
Often there are no symptoms of infection with Schistosoma, or they appear weeks after the worm has actually entered the body. The first sign is usually an itchy rash at the site of entry, but often the larva enters the body without being noticed. Within a few weeks, a systemic reaction to the worm migrating through the body can make you feel very unwell, with symptoms including fever, headache, aching joints and muscles, cough, diarrhoea, and enlarged liver and spleen. This is known as Katayama fever.
Once established in the body, most symptoms of schistosomiasis are caused by the body’s immune and inflammatory reaction to the parasite's eggs as they get into different tissues and organs. Symptoms of chronic infection can develop months or even years after the worm enters the body and depends on where the eggs have become trapped. This can include the intestines and bowels, causing blood in the stools, abdominal pain, anaemia and malnutrition. Eggs that get into the urinary tract include blood in the urine and can cause kidney damage and increase the risk of bladder cancer. Eggs can also cause skin complications and liver disease. Rarely eggs can get lodged in the brain, where they can cause seizures and paralysis, or in the eyes, which can cause vision loss.
Diagnosis and treatment
Several tests can identify the eggs in people who have been infected with Schistosoma, including identifying eggs in the stools, urine or biopsies from body tissues. Also, by detecting antibodies to the eggs in the blood. Once schistosomiasis has been identified, whether or not you are suffering from symptoms, the disease can be treated with Biltricide.
How does Biltricide work?
Biltricide tablets 600mg contain praziquantel, an anthelmintic dewormer that is used to treat the parasitic disease schistosomiasis. The adult worms rapidly take up praziquantel from the blood once it has been absorbed, and within minutes it causes its outer coat to become more permeable, allowing calcium ions to enter the worm. This causes contraction of the worm’s muscles resulting in paralysis so that the worm cannot move. It also causes them to become dislodged from the surface of the blood vessels, intestines and the bladder, where they cling on using suckers.
Praziquantel also destroys the adult worm’s outer coat called a tegument, which protects it from being destroyed by the immune system or enzymes. This makes it easier for your immune system to attack the dying worm, which then disintegrates in the blood or is passed out in the urine or faeces.
Biltricide tablets 600mg can treat infection with schistosoma by killing the adult worm so that no more eggs are released, which reduces the risk of developing chronic symptoms of schistosomiasis. It also prevents transmission of schistosomiasis, which helps with disease control in areas where the disease is endemic.
What does Biltricide contain?
Biltricide contains the active ingredient praziquantel, an anthelmintic dewormer that is used to treat the parasitic disease schistosomiasis. It also contains maize starch, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone 25, sodium lauryl sulfate, macrogol 4000, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (ci77891).
What are the side effects of Biltricide?
Most medications have some side effects, but they are not experienced by everyone. Some side effects are commonly experienced when taking Biltricide, but others are not so common, and you should discuss any problems or concerns with your primary care physician.
Common side effects when taking Biltricide include diarrhoea, anorexia, headache, dizziness, itching (urticaria), rash, muscle pain (myalgia), fatigue, feeling unwell, general weakness and lack of energy (asthenia), fever, vertigo sleepiness (somnolence).
When should Biltricide not be used?
Have a talk with your primary healthcare physician before taking Biltricide so that you have a full understanding of what this medicine is for and how to use it. There are some reasons for not taking a medication; these are called contraindications, and for Biltricide you should consider the following before taking Biltricide:
- Have you ever had an unusual reaction or an allergy when taking Biltricide?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Do you have any problems with your kidneys or your liver?
- Do you suffer from epilepsy?
- Have you had any skin lesions?
What medications interact with Biltricide?
Some medicines interact with Biltricide tablets 600mg and may affect the way it works, or are affected by Biltricide or increase side effects; you should discuss possible interactions with your primary care physician. These may include the anti-infective rifampicin, the antimalarial chloroquine, antifungals like ketoconazole, the antibiotic erythromycin, the antiinflammatory dexamethasone, antiepileptics like carbamazepine and phenytoin; also grapefruit juice.
If other medications may interact with Biltricide, your doctor will discuss these with you.
How should Biltricide be taken and for how long?
You should take your Biltricide tablets 600mg swallowed whole with a little liquid and after a meal, three times and 4-6 hours apart. You should only take your Biltricide tablets 600mg for one day, and the dose you take depends on your body weight, which should be 20mg/kg (44mg/lb).
You may be admitted to hospital while you are being treated, as during the acute phase of infection, you may develop symptoms that can become serious before Biltricide is fully effective in killing all the worms.
Missed dose of Biltricide
If you miss a dose of Biltricide tablets 600mg, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is time to take the next dose, then skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose.
How should Biltricide be stored?
You should store your Biltricide tablets 600mg below 25°C in a cool dry place.