Three safe, effective drugs -- praziquantel, oxamniquine and
metrifonate -- are now available for schistosomiasis and are included in the WHO
Model List of Essential Drugs.
Praziquantel is effective against all forms of schistosomiasis
with few, and only transient, side effects. Cost has decreased to under US 25
cents for adults and even less for children. Oxamniquine is used exclusively in
Africa and South America to treat intestinal schistosomiasis. Metrifonate has
proved to be safe and effective for the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis.
Even though re-infection may occur after treatment, the risk of developing
severely diseased organs is diminished and even reversed in young children. In
most areas, a reduction in the overall number of cases is maintained for 18-24
months and in other areas for up to five years without further