Pediatric Praziquantel for Schistosomiasis video
Schistosomiasis is the second-most socioeconomically devastating parasitic disease after malaria. Exposure leaves infected children vulnerable to increased risk for anaemia, stunting, and a reduced ability to learn, although the effects are usually reversible with treatment. Praziquantel (PZQ), an affordable, gold-standard drug, exists, but treatment for preschool-aged children has not been implemented due to several key obstacles: difficulty in swallowing and risk of choking give the large-sized commercially available tablets and high rejection rates due to bitter taste when pills are crushed and dispersed in liquids.
By utilizing Astellas’ formulation technology, the new pediatric tablets are about a quarter of the size of the existing commercial PZQ tablets and are orally dispersible (can be taken with or without water). This, together with agents that minimize PZQ’s bitterness and improve the taste of the tablets, helps children swallow more easily, which facilitates compliance and efficacy. In addition, the tablets are heat-stable in hot and humid African environments.
Astellas Pharma Inc., Farmanguinhos, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI-CGHR), Merck KGaA, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Université Félix Houphouët Boigny (UFHB), Lygature