Ultrasonographic assessment of the adulticidal efficacy of repeat high-dose ivermectin in bancroftian filariasis


Departamento de Parasitologia, CPqAM-FIOCRUZ, Av. Morães Rego S/N Cidade Universitaria, CEP 52020-200, Recife, PE, Brasil


Since diethylcarbamazine, the drug recommended for treatment of lymphatic filariasis, seems only partially effective against the adult worm, intense interest persists in identifying a macrofilaricidal drug for this infection. To evaluate directly in vivo the macrofilaricidal activity of repeat high-dose ivermectin, 15 men who had living adult Wucbereria bancrofti detected in the scrotal area by ultrasound were treated with 400 μg/kg of ivermectin at 2-week intervals for 6 months (total dose, 4.8 mg/kg). Serial ultrasound examinations were performed before, during, and for 6 months after treatment. Profound suppression of microfilaraemia followed the first dose of ivermectin, but movements characteristic of the adult worm on ultrasound remained unchanged both in location and pattern. Even when given in total doses of 4.8 mg/kg, ivermectin appears to have no observable activity against adult W. bancrofti, although its ability to suppress microfilaraemia makes it potentially useful for the control of lymphatic filariasis.