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Hymenolepis diminuta Infection

By Richard D. Pearson, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine

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Hymenolepis diminuta is a tapeworm that can cause intestinal infection.

H. diminuta, the rat tapeworm, has a life cycle similar to the indirect cycle of H. nana, involving grain insects. H. diminuta rarely infects humans but can cause mild diarrhea.

Diagnosis is by finding characteristic eggs in stool.


  • Praziquantel

  • Alternatively, nitazoxanide or, outside the US, niclosamide

H. diminuta infection is effectively treated with

  • Praziquantel 25 mg/kg po once

Alternatives include nitazoxanide and niclosamide (not available in the US).

For nitazoxanide, dosage is

  • For patients > 11 yr: 500 mg po bid for 3 days

  • For children aged 4 to 11 yr: 200 mg po bid for 3 days

  • For children aged 1 to 4 yr: 100 mg po bid for 3 days

For niclosamide, dosage is

  • For adults: 2 g po once/day for 7 days

  • For children > 34 kg: 1.5 g in a single dose on day 1, then 1 g once/day for 6 days

  • For children 11 to 34 kg: 1 g in a single dose on day 1, then 500 mg once/day for 6 days