Schistosomiasis medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]


The mainstay of treatment for schistosomiasis is pharmacotherapy. Praziquantel is the drug of choice in treating schistosomiasis. Corticosteroids should be administered in addition to praziquantel in patients with symptoms due to neuro-schistosomiasis and patients with severe katayama fever. The goals of treatment of schistosomiasis are to eradicate the helminth and correct any sequelae of infection. While praziquantel is safe and highly effective in curing an infected patient, it does not prevent re-infection by cercariae and is thus not an optimum treatment for people living in endemic areas.

Medical Therapy

Antimicrobial Regimen

  • 1. Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, S. intercalatum[1]
  • Preferred regimen: Praziquantel 40 mg/kg per day PO in qd or bid for one day
  • Alternative regimen (1): Oxamniquine 20 mg/kg PO single dose[2][3]
  • Alternative regimen (2): Artemisinin no dose is established yet[1]
  • Alternative regimen (3): Mefloquine 250 mg PO single dose
  • Note: There is no benefit in associating the alternative therapies to praziquantel.
  • Note: Praziquantel is not effective against larval/egg stages of the disease.[4]
  • 2. S. japonicum, S. mekongi[1]
  • Preferred regimen: Praziquantel 60 mg/kg per day PO bid for one day
  • Alternative regimen (1): Artemisinin no dose is established yet
  • Alternative regimen (2): Mefloquine 250 mg PO single dose
  • Note: There is no benefit in associating the alternative therapies to Praziquantel.
  • 3. Katayama Fever


  • Praziquantel is first-line therapy for infection with all five Schistosoma species.
  • Praziquantel is also used as part of mass chemotherapy campaigns in endemic areas to decrease individual worm burden.
  • Not effective against immature schistosomes (schistosomules).
  • Not useful for treatment of cercarial dermatitis (i.e, cutaneous schistosomiasis or swimmer's itch) caused by transient, self-limited infection with Austrobilharzia species.
  • Very well tolerated; adverse effects are usually mild and transient and do not require treatment.
  • Women who are breastfeeding should not breastfeed on the day of treatment.
  • Rifampin significantly reduces the bioavailability of praziquantel and, thus, should be discontinued 4 weeks before treatment.
  • Schistosome eggs may take weeks to pass out of the intestinal and bladder wall; therefore, egg passage continues for approximately a month after treatment.


Artemisinin compounds


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Colley DG, Bustinduy AL, Secor WE, King CH (2014). "Human schistosomiasis". Lancet. 383 (9936): 2253–64. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61949-2. PMID 24698483.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=4612, (accessed July 16, 2015).
  3. BINA, J. C. and PRATA, A.. Tratamento da esquistossomose com oxamniquine (xarope) em crianças. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop.[online]. 1975, vol.9, n.4 [cited 2015-07-16], pp. 175-178 . Available from: <>. ISSN 0037-8682.
  4. Paramythiotou E, Frantzeskaki F, Flevari A, Armaganidis A, Dimopoulos G (2014). "Invasive fungal infections in the ICU: how to approach, how to treat". Molecules. 19 (1): 1085–119. doi:10.3390/molecules19011085. PMID 24445340.
  5. Jauréguiberry S, Paris L, Caumes E (2010). "Acute schistosomiasis, a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge". Clin Microbiol Infect. 16 (3): 225–31. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2009.03131.x. PMID 20222897.
  6. Jauréguiberry S, Paris L, Caumes E (2009). "Difficulties in the diagnosis and treatment of acute schistosomiasis". Clin Infect Dis. 48 (8): 1163–4, author reply 1164-5. doi:10.1086/597497. PMID 19292640.