Ivermectin is an anti-parasite tablet taken by mouth to treat strongyloidiasis. This condition is caused when a certain type of roundworm lives in the intestines.
The tablet is also used to control a condition known as onchocerciasis (river blindness). This condition occurs due to infection by a certain type of roundworm that causes vision problems and bumps and rash under the skin.
In the treatment of strongyloidiasis, the medicine works by paralyzing and killing the younger worms in the intestines. In the treatment of onchocerciasis, the medicine kills worms which are developing but does not cure the infection.
The medicine may also be used to treat certain other roundworm infection and some types of parasitic infestation of the skin or head.
Ivermectin is the generic name for the US brand of the drug known as Stromectol. Patients are given this tablet by a pharmacy for the treatment of worm infections only if they have a doctor's prescription.
Ivermectin may cause certain expected side effects. Unwanted side effects may also occur and may or may not need medical attention.
Call your doctor right away if you develop the following side effects while you are being treated for onchocerciasis (river blindness).
Less commonly occur
There may be other side effects that occur that do not normally require medical attention. If they occur, they tend to go away on their own during treatment.
If you experience any of the following side effects and they become bothersome during your treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness), tell your doctor:
If you experience any of the following side effects and they become bothersome during your treatment for strongyloidiasis, tell your doctor:
Some patients may experience other side effects which are not listed in this medication guide. You should talk with your doctor or healthcare professional if you notice other side effects that bother you or do not go away.
You may also ask your healthcare professional about ways to reduce or prevent the occurrence of side effects.
You may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report side effects.
Ivermectin (Stromectol) is supplied as a tablet. Each tablet contains 3 mg of the medicine.
Dosage usually varies from one patient to the other. Your dosage information will be on the prescription label. It will be based on your weight and whether you are being treated for strongyloidiasis or onchocerciasis.
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor, pharmacist and prescription label. The label should tell you how strong your dose is, how often you should take it, the time between each dose, and the duration of your treatment.
The following is a general recommended dosage guide. You should stick to the dose prescribed for you by our doctor.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) treatment
Your doctor will use your weight to determine your dose. It is usually a single dose of 68 micrograms (mcg) for each pound of body weight. Your doctor may direct you to repeat the treatment every 3 to 12 months.
Dosage is the same as adults
Children (weighing 33 pounds (15 kg) or more): Your doctor will use your weight to determine your dose. Children with this weight range are usually given a single dose equivalent to 68 micrograms (mcg) for each pound of body weight. Your child's doctor may direct a repeat treatment every 3 to 12 months.
Children (weighing 33 pounds (15 kg) or less): A doctor must determine use and dosage for children within this weight range.
Your doctor will use your weight to determine your dose. It is usually a single dose of 91 micrograms (mcg) for each pound of body weight. Repeat doses are not usually prescribed.
Dosage is the same as adults
Children (weighing 33 pounds (15 kg) or more): Your doctor will use your weight to determine your dose. Children within this weight range are usually given a single dose equivalent to 91 micrograms (mcg) for each pound of body weight.
Children (weighing 33 pounds (15 kg) or less): A doctor must determine use and dosage for children weighing less than 33 pounds.
It is recommended that you take Ivermectin as a single dose with a full, 8-ounce glass of water on an empty stomach. This should be done 1 hour before breakfast unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Certain patients with river blindness, especially whose symptoms are severe, may be prescribed another medicine called corticosteroid. Corticosteroid is used to reduce inflammation caused when the worms die.
If both medicines are prescribed together for you, take them together and do so exactly as directed by your doctor.
Take care to avoid missing your dose of Ivermectin. If you missed your single dose of this medicine, take it as soon as you possible. Remember to follow up with your repeat dose every 3 to 12 months, if directed by your doctor.
Call your doctor, 911 and/or the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, if you overdose on this drug. If the patient collapses or is not breathing, call 911.
Symptoms of overdose include the following:
Food, alcohol, and tobacco or other medicines or medical problems may affect the way Ivermectin works.
Food, alcohol, and tobacco
Ivermectin works best when it is taken with a full, 8-ounce glass of water on an empty stomach. Your doctor may also caution you on the use of alcohol or tobacco during treatment.
Using Ivermectin with other medicines may cause adverse interaction. However, using them together may be best for your health.
The following are interactions which may occur and are mentioned in this guide because of their potential significance.
It is not usually recommended to use the following medication with Ivermectin. If its use cannot be avoided, your doctor may change your dose or how often you use any of your medicines.
If the following other medicine is used during treatment with Ivermectin, it may cause an increase in the risk of certain side effects. However, treatment with both drugs may be best for your health.
If they are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of your medicines.
The following other products may also interact with this medicine. Let your doctor know if you use any of them.
Let your doctor know if you have any other medical problem. This is important since certain medical problems may interact with the medicine. Using the anti-parasitic medication may worsen the following medical problems in patients:
Due to a possible increase in the risk of side effects, use Ivermectin with caution in patients with the following medical problem. This is because the condition slows the removal of the drug from the body.
Your doctor will consider the potential benefits and risks when deciding to treat you.
Geriatric who have liver problems are more likely at risk for side effects. This is because their body takes a longer time to remove the drug from the bloodstream.
Your doctor may need to take precautions when setting your dose to accommodate all your medicines and may need to monitor you closely for side effects.
If not, your doctor may prescribe additional doses of Ivermectin.
Keep the medicine away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Safely dispose of medicine that is expired or no longer needed.
Ivermectin effectively paralyzes, kills, and stops the development of new worms in the body, in the treatment of strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis (river blindness).
It may also reduce the rate at which adult worms reproduce their baby worms. This eventually decreases the number of worms in the blood, skin, and eyes.
However, in the treatment of river blindness, the medicine cannot cure the infection since it does not kill the adult worms that cause the infection in the first place. This medicine is more for controlling the infection.
While the infection may be cured or controlled after a single dose in some patients, certain patients may be required to take additional doses over time.
Ivermectin does not seem to trigger serious side effects if used properly. Known interactions with other drugs or other medical problems are few. Though safe and effective, Ivermectin cannot be used in children who weigh 15 kg (33 pounds) or less.