UPDATE : Saturday, March 28, 2020
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Fenbendazole craze expands to human parasiticide
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.01.07 12:33
  • Updated 2020.01.07 12:33
  • comments 0

Following the craze over fenbendazole, a dog deworming drug, in treating cancer patients, the nation is seeing another shortage -- for a human parasiticide.

Various videos related to the therapeutic benefits of albendazole continue to be uploaded on YouTube as the attention over the drug increases.

Already, YouTube and various online communities have attracted attention after posting various testimonials of the drug, albendazole, in treating diseases, including cancer, diabetes, hemorrhoids, rhinitis, and even rare diseases.

“I have suffered from allergic rhinitis for the past 20 years and took 20 to 30 bottles of pills a year,” a YouTube user who goes by the user ID “A JAY TV,” said in his video. “However, after taking albendazole, I am no longer in need of any of those drugs.”

Another YouTuber claimed that the human parasiticide helped lower his blood sugar levels.

“After taking three albendazole pills a day, my blood sugar levels dropped by about 50 from 300 to 254,” said YouTube user LOT SCOM. “I did not change any of my life patterns, such as my eating habits. Therefore, I believe that the drug is one of the main causes in lowering my blood sugar levels.”

This time around, however, the popularity over the drug has not only led to a shortage of supply of the human parasiticide but has also led to netizens coming up with various conspiracy theories.

“Many years ago, there was a rumor that a cancer cure had been developed,” a netizen wrote. “However, it is said that they did not launch the drug as pharmaceutical companies sabotaged the launch of the drug.”

It is becoming unclear that parasites are the source of all diseases, the netizen wrote.

However, like fenbendazole, albendazole has not been proven effective in treating the disease, and it is also unclear if the drug can cause side effects.

Some alleged users have already posted reviews of possible side effects after taking the drug.

“After taking albendazole, I have been suffering from severe hair loss,” an internet user claiming to have taken albendazole wrote online. “Within a week of taking medicine, I have become completely bald and not know how to proceed.”

Experts have also similarly warned that taking albendazole may cause side effects such as disease development and toxic effects in the liver.

“Since the drug is made to exterminate parasites, we cannot say that the drug is safe or has been checked for adverse effects,” the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said. “We are concerned about the safety of patients as using the parasiticide can make patients miss the right time to receive treatment.”

The ministry does not recommend patients to use albendazole for any other purposes than exterminating parasites, the agency added.

The Korean Pharmaceutical Association also warned patients of taking albendazole.

“If the parasiticide were effective as an anticancer drug, it would have already been commercialized,” the association said. “In the case of commercially available drugs, various clinical trials have examined various possibilities for side effects.”

Patients should talk with experts before taking the drug, the association added.

corea022@docdocdoc.co.kr

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