Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis preventive chemotherapy: Adverse events in children from 2 to 15 years in Bengo province, Angola.
Preventive chemotherapy campaigns with praziquantel and albendazole are being implemented in Angola, as a high priority public health intervention. However, there are no published data regarding adverse events associated with these medications. In this context, we analysed adverse events due to co-administration of praziquantel and albendazole in endemic areas of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths in Bengo, Angola. In the context of a targeted drug administration, between December 2012 and September 2013, we conducted two surveys after co-administrating single oral doses of praziquantel and albendazole tablets to children 2 to 15 years of age. About 24 hours after each treatment, participants answered a questionnaire about adverse events. At baseline, 605 children (55.0% male; mean age: 9.7 years) were treated; 460 were interviewed and 257 (55.9%) reported at least one adverse event, 62.3% (160/257) of children being infected with schistosoma haematobium. After six months of treatment, among 339 children surveyed, 184 (54.3%) reported adverse events, with 49.5% (91/184) of infected children. Adverse events were most common in preschool-aged children, with no significant difference between genders. The most frequent adverse events in the two surveys were abdominal pain (18.5%, 25.7%), headache (20.9%, 23.0%) and dizziness (15.7%, 19.8%). Children aged 12 to 15 years (adjusted OR = 0.40, p = 0.040) and those with mixed infection (adjusted OR = 0.04, p = 0.011) had lower odds of adverse events. After the second treatment, those with heavy infection (adjusted OR = 2.72, p = 0.018) and aged 9-11 years (adjusted OR = 2.01, p = 0.049) had significantly fewer adverse events. About 2.0% of children experienced severe adverse events. This study adds evidence that preventive chemotherapy for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths control is safe, but cases of adverse events are expected. Standardized methodologies to discriminate drug-related adverse events from the clinical manifestations of the infections are needed.