Therapy for neurocysticercosis: A reappraisal
Accepted approaches to therapy for the different forms of neurocysticercosis are reviewed. Therapy must be individualized according to the level of disease activity and the location of the parasite. Patients with inactive disease should receive only symptomatic treatment. In contrast, patients with parenchymal brain cysts must receive a course of anticysticercal drugs. Both albendazole and praziquantel are useful; however, recent evidence favors the former as the drug of choice for this form of the disease. Albendazole (but not praziquantel) is also effective in the treatment of giant subarachnoid cysts; such medical treatment obviates surgery in some cases. Patients with ventricular cysts may also benefit from medical therapy; however, surgery is the current approach to this type of lesion, as it is to spinal cysticercosis. Although intraocular cysts have classically been resected by surgery, a recent study indicates that albendazole is equally effective. For patients with mixed forms of neurocysticercosis, therapeutic measures related to--but not directly targeting--the disease (i.e., steroid administration for brain edema or shunt placement for hydrocephalus) should be contemplated before therapy with anticysticercal drugs is instituted.