Anthelmintic drugs are used to eradicate parasitic worm infestations.
How are they used?Many anthelmintic drugs are appropriate only for certain types of infestation. Your doctor will therefore need to identify the worm before prescribing the drug to be taken. In most cases, infestations are treated easily with a short course of oral drugs. The most commonly used drug for intestinal infestations is mebendazole. Threadworms can often be eradicated with a single dose of mebendazole, provided that treatment is combined with good hygiene measures, such as careful handwashing, to prevent reinfestation. Your doctor may suggest that the whole family be treated with the drug at the same time, because threadworms can spread very rapidly to other people. Worm infestations of the tissues, such as hydatid disease, which can affect the lungs, liver, or bones, may be treated with albendazole. Tissue infestations are difficult to eradicate, and it may be necessary to continue taking the drug for several weeks. Anthelmintics usually do not cause side effects. However, sometimes the drugs produce diarrhoea, headaches, and dizziness. Albendazole may impair liver function; this may necessitate regular monitoring during treatment.
See more in the dossier: Drugs for infections and infestations
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