3 Things Pharmacists Should Know About Neglected Tropical Diseases

JANUARY 11, 2016
2. Many NTDs Can Cause Chronic Diseases
A common misconception is that all NTDs resolve after anti-infective treatment. Some NTDs may cause chronic diseases that can lead to lifetime disability. An important example of this is neurocysticercosis, which is a major cause of epilepsy worldwide.4
Neurocysticercosis is an infection of the central nervous system with the tapeworm Taenia solium. In its larval stage, the tapeworm exists as a cyst, where it can cause almost any neurological symptom, the most common of which is seizures.5
Medical treatment typically consists of albendazole and/or praziquantel, which kill the active cysts, and corticosteroids, which help control the inflammatory response to the dying cysts.
Even after treatment, however, symptoms may persist. For example, seizures may remit in some patients, but others may develop epilepsy requiring long-term, if not lifelong, treatment. 

Matthew Romo, PharmD, MPH
Matthew Romo, PharmD, MPH
Matthew L. Romo, PharmD, MPH, is a pharmacist and epidemiologist experienced in international and immigrant health. He received his pharmacy degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and his public health degree from the CUNY School of Public Health.