Clinical data
AHFS/ Micromedex Detailed Consumer Information
ATC code P02CB02 (WHO) QP52AH02 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
  • ℞ (Prescription only)
CAS Number 90-89-1 YesY
PubChem (CID) 3052
DrugBank DB00711 YesY
ChemSpider 2944 YesY
KEGG D07825 YesY
Chemical and physical data
Formula C10H21N3O
Molar mass 199.293 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image

Diethylcarbamazine (DEC, N, N-diethyl-4-methyl-1-piperazine carboxamide) is a synthetic derivative of piperazine used as an anthelmintic drug used in the treatment of filariasis in humans, dogs and cats. Discovery was attributed to Yellapragada Subbarao.

DEC is a synthetic organic compound which is highly specific for several parasites.

It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medication needed in a basic health system.[1]

Medical uses

DEC is indicated for treatment of individual patients with certain filarial diseases. These diseases include: lymphatic filariasis caused by infection with Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, or Brugia timori; tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, and loiasis.

In cases of onchocerciasis, another common filarial parasite, the drug is not used. This is because of the intense and unbearable itching associated with the dead subcutaneous parasites.

DEC continues to be the mainstay for treatment of patients with lymphatic filariasis and loiasis. DEC is also used to prevent heartworm in dogs.

Now WHO recommends prescribing DEC to patients who are infected with microfilariae of filarial parasite and also to control transmission of infection in filariasis endemic areas.

Contraindications are previous history of heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, and allergy.


DEC is an inhibitor of arachidonic acid metabolism in filarial microfilaria. This makes the microfilariae more susceptible to innate immune attack, but does not kill the parasites outright.[2]

Trade names


  1. "WHO Model List of EssentialMedicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  2. El-Shahawi, G. A.; Abdel-Latif, M; Saad, A. H.; Bahgat, M (2010). "Setaria equina: In vivo effect of diethylcarbamazine citrate on microfilariae in albino rats". Experimental Parasitology. 126 (4): 603–10. doi:10.1016/j.exppara.2010.06.022. PMID 20599991.
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