Mazzotti Reaction – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


The Mazzotti reaction is a complex of different symptoms. This occurs in connection with an initiated therapy. The organism reacts with fever and an allergic reaction.

What is a Mazzotti reaction?

Mazzotti reaction is a side effect of an underlying disease. Diseases that are treated with drugs from the drug class of anthelmintics can trigger the Mazotti reaction. Among them are river blindness , or direct infestation with nematode worms .

There are various active ingredients that are found in the individual preparations used to treat roundworms. For example, the active substance diethylcarbamazine is one of the substances that are used. Mazzotti reaction can occur as a side effect of this active substance. This manifests itself in a symptom complex of several complaints.

The sufferer suffers from a fever and a general allergic reaction . Pain or skin changes may occur. In severe cases, the substance diethylcarbamazine triggers an anaphylactic shock in the patient . This is a life-threatening condition that occurs due to over-sensitivity of the immune system.

The Mazotti reaction was first documented in 1948 by a Mexican parasitologist. The doctor was a specialist in tropical diseases caused by parasites. In his work, he had several patients who complained of severe symptoms after taking medicines containing the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine.


The cause of the Mazzotti reaction is the intake of medicinal preparations that contain the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine. The active ingredient is found in drugs that are assigned to the drug class of anthelmintics. There is further evidence that the drugs ivermectin, praziquantel and albendazole can also trigger a Mazzotti reaction.The drug diethylcarbamazine is administered during a therapeutic treatment. This is initiated when there is an infestation of worms. In most cases, the worm disease is roundworms. The parasitic worms are distributed worldwide, reproduce quickly and are easily transmitted.

They are found at sea, in tropical regions and in freshwater regions. They enter the organism through raw or contaminated food and faeces. Tropical nematodes are transmitted via insect bites. A worm infection does not heal spontaneously.

Therapeutic measures must be taken so that the worms die off. For this reason, in the case of a Mazzotti reaction, it must be noted that the original underlying disease is treated with another measure.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Symptoms of Mazzotti’s reaction include pain, swollen lymph nodes , fever , and skin changes. The pain shows itself in the form of a headache or joint pain . The patient’s range of motion is significantly limited by the pain sensation .

Movement is made more difficult and is often avoided. The fever triggers body aches , clouding of consciousness and listlessness. There is a feeling of powerlessness and general weakness . The skin changes show up as edema on the skin.

So-called wheals develop , which can spread over the entire body. They are associated with skin redness and itching . The wheals lead to thickening of the skin in the affected areas. In severe cases, an anaphylactic reaction occurs within 20 seconds to 20 minutes after taking a drug containing the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine.

This is a state of shock classified as life-threatening. The patient suffers from shortness of breath and a feeling of heat. A circulatory shock threatens. In this case, the blood stagnates in the organism. Taking first aid measures is necessary.

Diagnosis & course of disease

The diagnosis is made by a doctor. This checks the previous illness, the medication taken for it and the current symptoms. The disease course of Mazzotti reaction is progressive and can be life-threatening if left untreated.


As a rule, the Mazzotti reaction primarily leads to a very strong fever. Due to the fever, those affected appear exhausted and tired and can no longer actively participate in life and everyday life. The quality of life is also significantly reduced and limited by the Mazzotti reaction.There are also the usual symptoms of the flu or a cold. The patients suffer from severe headaches and pain in the joints and extremities. The patient’s movement is also restricted and pain occurs. Furthermore, those affected suffer from disorders of consciousness and a general weakness. The skin is also affected by the Mazzotti reaction, resulting in redness and itching.

Furthermore, without treatment, severe shortness of breath occurs, which can also lead to loss of consciousness. Those affected may fall and possibly injure themselves. In the case of a circulatory shock, the person concerned can also lose consciousness. Mazzotti reaction can be treated with medication. Complications usually do not arise. Furthermore, the life expectancy of the affected person is not reduced if the treatment is successful and quick.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the person concerned suffers from symptoms such as fever, malaise, aching bones and joints, changes in the complexion or headaches, a doctor should be consulted. If the symptoms persist or increase in intensity, a doctor’s visit is necessary. The development of oedemas, swellings or wheals indicate a health impairment and should be examined. Caution should be exercised in the event of skin reddening and itching. If open wounds develop, sterile wound care is required. If this cannot be adequately guaranteed, a doctor should be consulted. If there is inflammation, pain or pus formation on the wound, a doctor’s visit is required immediately. There is a risk of blood poisoning, which is potentially life-threatening for those affected.

A doctor should be consulted if consciousness is clouded, if you feel apathetic or listless, or if you feel ill. Disorders of the cardiovascular system, a general feeling of pain throughout the body and a decrease in the usual performance indicate existing irregularities. They should be examined by a doctor so that a diagnosis can be made. Shortness of breath or anxiety should be discussed with a doctor at an early stage. If acute shortness of breath, loss of consciousness or circulatory shock occurs, an emergency service must be alerted. At the same time, life-saving emergency measures must be taken to ensure the survival of the person concerned.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of the Mazzotti reaction consists of the immediate discontinuation of the drug containing the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine. Then the individual symptoms are treated. Painkillers are used for headaches and joint pain. In the case of fever, in addition to the administration of medicine, measures such as rest, sufficient intake of fluids and the use of cold compresses are taken.

Skin changes such as edema are treated with antihistamines . If the Mazzotti reaction has led to anaphylactic shock, immediate action is required. The victim is placed in a state of shock. Drugs are used to get the stagnant blood moving again.

The functioning blood circulation leads to the removal of the ingested drug. In severe cases, intubation occurs when there is no or insufficient breathing. After the Mazzotti reaction, the existing underlying disease of the nematode infestation is treated with other substances from the group of anthelmintics.

Raw foods are not eaten during therapy. The existing hygiene measures are being tightened. The patient is asked to wash their hands more frequently after contact with other people. The use of public toilets is avoided whenever possible. The use of disinfectants is pointed out when going to the toilet.

Outlook & Forecast

With the early adoption of medical measures, the prognosis of the Mazzotti reaction is favorable. Physicians were able to determine the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine as the triggering stimulus. Therefore, spontaneous healing occurs when medicinal preparations containing the named ingredient are discontinued immediately. A prerequisite for a quick recovery within a few days, however, is that the drug is discontinued as soon as the first health irregularities appear. In addition, the affected person needs sufficient rest and should drink plenty of fluids to optimize the healing process.

If there are already disorders such as a change in the complexion or joint problems, the healing process will be delayed. The abnormalities of the skin usually disappear completely within several months. Although the patient is also free of symptoms here, delays must be expected. The irregularities of the joints can be supported by taking physiotherapeutic measures.

Overloading should be avoided to avoid further complications. With anaphylactic shock, the prognosis worsens significantly. Here the person concerned is at risk of premature death and intensive medical care is necessary. If left untreated, these cases can be fatal. It must be taken into account that an alternative preparation must be taken when the drugs containing the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine are discontinued. Otherwise, the primary disease cannot be treated.


As a preventive measure, when treating roundworms, you should avoid taking medicines with the active ingredient diethylcarbamazine. Worm disease can be controlled with other substances from the drug class of anthelmintics. There are more than ten other active ingredients in this classification.

Depending on the condition present, one of the other remedies may be prescribed and taken. In addition, an infestation of roundworms should be prevented. This is done by thoroughly cleaning raw vegetables and lettuce before consumption.


Mazzotti reaction is usually associated with some discomfort and complications, all of which have a very negative impact on the sufferer’s quality of life. As a rule, however, the disease can be treated well so that the patient’s usual quality of life can be restored relatively quickly.

Since this is an acute concomitant reaction of another underlying disease, there is no follow-up care in the classic sense. However, those affected should focus on a healthy lifestyle that avoids stress and provides plenty of exercise in the fresh air. Relaxation exercises like those practiced in yoga also help to calm the mind and increase well-being in everyday life.

You can do that yourself

If a Mazzotti reaction is suspected, the doctor must first be informed. The most important treatment is to stop the offending drug. The drug treatment of the individual symptoms can be supported by various self-measures and some household and natural resources.

Bed rest is recommended for severe headaches and joint pain . In addition, gentle sedatives such as St. John’s wort or valerian can be taken. A proven alternative from homeopathy is Globuli Acidum Sulfuricum, which may be taken after consultation with a doctor. Fever is relieved with rest, cold compresses and sufficient fluid intake. A dehydrating diet can be used to combat skin changes such as edema. Warm baths with soothing medicinal plants also help . The immune system must also be supported, for example through light sport and gymnastic exercises and yoga .

Finally, those affected must also change their diet and remove raw foods from the menu. In addition, hygiene measures should be tightened, and regular hand washing is particularly important. Public toilets should be avoided in the acute phase of illness. If the symptoms do not subside after a few days, it is best to consult a doctor.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.