Decisions about treatment of loiasis can be difficult and often require advice from an expert in infectious diseases or tropical medicine. Although surgical removal of adult worms moving under the skin or across the eye can be done to relieve anxiety, loiasis is not cured by surgery alone. There are two medications that can be used to treat the infection and manage the symptoms. The treatment of choice is diethylcarbamazine (DEC), which kills the microfilariae and adult worms. Albendazole is sometimes used in patients who are not cured with multiple DEC treatments. It is thought to kill adult worms. Certain people with heavy infections are at risk of brain inflammation when treated with DEC. This can cause coma or sometimes death. People with heavy infections need to be treated by experienced specialists.  Sometimes, other medical conditions need to be addressed first in order to make it safer to use DEC. Sometimes treatment is not recommended.

More on: Resources for Health Professionals: Treatment

Page last reviewed: January 20, 2015