Clinical Symptoms and Treatment of Tapeworms

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Clinical Symptoms and Treatment of Tapeworms

Clinical symptoms of infections with the adult tapeworms in the intestines vary from asymptomatic to very mild intestinal symptoms to more severe ones such as pain and diarrhea, seen in heavy Hymenolepis nana infections. Some tapeworms can live up to 25 years in a host.
Infections with the larval forms cause more varied symptoms, depending on the location of the larva and the type of larva. For instance, Taenia solium cysticerci can sometimes live in the central nervous system and brain, thus causing severe neurological symptoms. Other types of larvae can sometimes be symptomless unless they are in a vital area or grow very large.
Treatment of adult tapeworms is by oral anti-helminthic drugs such as praziquantel, albendazole, or nitazoxanide. Treatment for the larval forms may include anti-helminthics, but typically it would require surgery.