Pyrantel Pamoate

Pyrantel Pamoate

February 25, 2020

Pyrantel Pamoate is a broad-spectrum anthelmintic drug that you can buy over-the-counter. It is primarily used as an oral treatment for parasitic worm infections such as:

  • Pinworm infection- It’s also known as enterobiasis. This infection is common but a contagious parasitic infection that mainly affects children. This type of parasite usually infects only the gastrointestinal tract or the GI.
  • Hookworm infections- It’s an infection of the intestine by the parasitic worm hookworm. This type of infection affects people of all ages. People can catch it through soil contact. It can cause an itchy rash, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.
  • Ascariasis-It’s the most common roundworm infection which affects the small intestines due to ascaris lumbricoides worm.

This medicine is an anthelmintic that acts as a depolarizing blocking agent. It works by causing sudden contraction followed by paralyzing the worm so that the body can remove them naturally in the stool or with diarrhea. It’s non-vermicidal but this drug can depolarize the neuromuscular blockade of a worm. The paralyzed worms lose their grip from the intestinal wall and excreted in the stool during the intestinal peristalsis. Side effects are rare and restricted to the infrequent occurrence of diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, and dizziness because of its poor absorption from the GI. Pyrantel can induce complete intestinal obstruction in a heavy worm load.

Pyrantel is available as generic medication at a cheaper price. Its FDA approved and is proven to be one of the safest and most effective medicines needed in the health system.  Pyrantel is effective against ascariasis and occasionally used as an alternative treatment to Mebendazole for hookworm. It’s poorly absorbed in the GI, thus making it only effective against susceptible parasite within the gastrointestinal tract.

How to Use It

Pyrantel comes in an oral suspension, capsule and chewable tablets. Adults and children 2 years to 12 years of age can take this medication. If you are using the over-the-counter product, read all the information on the product package before taking them or before giving them to your children. Your dose is based on your weight, type of infections and your response to the treatment. For the oral suspension, shake the bottle well before using them. Do not exceed 4 teaspoons of Pyrantel oral suspension.

You can take this at any time of the day. The onset of action takes effect within 1 to 2 hours after administration. It usually takes 72 hours for the medicine to fully get rid of the parasites in the body. It’s effective as a single dose for ascariasis and roundworm infections but you need to take this for 3 days in treating hookworm infections. Your doctor may repeat your dose after 2 weeks for pinworm infections. You may take this with or without food or along with milk or fruit juices. Take Pyrantel exactly as instructed. Do not take more or less than what is prescribed to you. 

Possible Side Effects

Pyrantel may cause side effects aside from its intended effects. If any of these side effects persist, inform your doctor right away:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

A very serious side effect is rare. However, seek medical help as soon as possible if you will notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Serious allergic reaction with signs like itching, swelling. Rash, trouble breathing and severe dizziness

What should I know before taking Pyrantel?

  • Use Pyrantel with care for people with:
    • Hepatic dysfunction
    • Allergic to its active ingredient
    • Intestinal obstruction
    • Anemia
    • Malnutrition
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking other prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements. Some drugs can interact with how Pyrantel works causing it not to work properly or increase the risk for serious side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. You can only use this during pregnancy unless clearly needed.

For your safety

  • When one member of the household has pinworm infections, the entire member should also be treated unless otherwise advised.
  • Pyrantel can make you feel dizzy or drowsy. Do not do anything that needs mental alertness until you can do it safely. Limit also your alcohol intake.
  • Pyrantel is best recommended as a drug of choice over other anthelmintic drugs in cases of multiple parasitic infections.
  • Pyrantel may contain inactive ingredients which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Before using inform your doctor if you are allergic to it or if you have allergies.
  • Do not use this to treat yourself if you are pregnant. You must consult your doctor first and discuss the risk and benefits that you can get from using this drug.
  • This medication is not known whether it passes into breast milk or not. Do not use this without informing your doctor.
  • Some parasitic worms can easily spread among family members living in the same household. It is vital to check them even if they do not have symptoms. Wash hands frequently, keep your fingernails trimmed and be careful with your personal hygiene.
  • Do not use this to treat other infections unless directed by your doc

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