Viability of adult Onchocerca volvulus after six 2-weekly doses of ivermectin

B. O.L. Duke, M. C. Pacque, B. Munoz, B. M. Greene, H. R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Ivermectin is a safe, effective microfilaricide and microfilarial suppressant for Onchocerca volvulus; but in single doses of 100-200 μg/kg body weight it has no macrofilaricidal action. The present trial aimed to determine whether 6 doses of 100 μg/kg ivermectin, given at 2-week intervals, would kill the adult worms. Eighty-two nodules from 28 otherwise healthy adult male Liberian patients treated with this ivermectin schedule, and 102 nodules from a similar group of 25 control patients, were removed four months after the last dose of ivermectin. They were coded and assessed in a masked fashion either by routine histology or by examination of whole worms extracted from the nodules after collagenase digestion. The drug had no visible effect on adult male worms. More adult female worms were assessed as moribund or dead in the ivermectin-treated group than in the control group (for the collagenase digests P = 0.09; for the histological assessment P = 0.47). The data suggest that repeated dosage with ivermectin may lead to a slow attrition of some female worms and this possibility should be investigated in patients receiving regular doses every 3, 6 or 12 months as part of onchocerciasis control programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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