Pyrantel

Pyrantel is a generic anthelmintic medication that is used to treat roundworm, hookworm, and pinworm in humans, canines, felines, and some other animal species.

Overview

Pyrantel is an anti-worm medication that is used to treat a variety of different worm infections, including (but not limited to) roundworm, hookworm, and pinworm. It works by paralyzing worms in the body and preventing them from multiplying or growing. By paralyzing worms, Pyrantel causes them to lose their grip on intestinal walls, and the worms flush through the system naturally. Pyrantel is also not well-absorbed by the body, so it usually leaves with the worms through stool or vomiting.

Pyrantel was first produced in 1965. It is a generic medicine in the United States, meaning that many different pharmaceutical companies can produce and sell it. This make Pyrantel a generally cheap medication, which is widely available. Pyrantel can often be found under brand names such as "Reese's Pinworm Medicine", "Pin-X", "Pin-Rid", "Helmex", and "Strongid". It is used by humans as well as some other animal species, including canines and felines.

Conditions treated

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Pinworm
  • Other types of worms

Type of Medicine

  • Anthelmintic
  • Antiworm medication

Side Effects

Generally, Pyantel has been known to cause few side effects. Because it is only taken one or a few times, side effects should not persist long after taking it. However, like all medications, there may be some side effects to watch out for.

Though rare, skin rashes are a serious side effect of taking Pyrantel. If you experience a skin rash after taking Pyrantel, you should inform your doctor immediately.

There are other less serious, and fairly uncommon side effects of taking Pyrantel. Should you experience any of the following, they are likely not serious, but you should alert a doctor if they become worse or impede on your daily life. Some of these side effects occur naturally as a way of the Pyrantel flushing the infection from the body.

  • Abdominal pain or stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness, fatigue, or insomnia
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite or changes in appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Though rare, Pyrantel can also cause an allergic reaction in some patients. If you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction, you should alert your doctor immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash
  • Dizziness and confusion

Dosage

The recommended dosage for Pyrantel depends on what type of worm infection it is being used to treat. Generally though, it is only taken once or a couple of times in order to fight the worm infection.

Oral Pyrantel is available in both a pill and a liquid dosage. Pyrantel can be taken with or without food at any time of the day. The liquid form of the drug can also be mixed with milk or juice. If you miss a dosage, take a dosage as soon as possible. If it is nearing time for your next dosage anyway, wait and continue your dosage as usual. Never take two dosages at once to make up for a missed one.

For adults with pinworm infections, the recommended dosage is a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally, once. This same dose will then be repeated in two weeks, to ensure the infection has been fully taken care of.

For adults with hookworm infections, the recommended dosage is a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally, but taken three days in a row.

For adults with Moniliformis infection, the recommended dosage is a 1 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally once. This dosage should then be repeated twice at two-week intervals.

For adults with roundworm infections, and for many other types of worm infections, the recommended dosage is generally a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally once. If your infection persists after taking this dosage once, you should talk to your doctor about what further steps to take.

For patients under 18, many of these recommended dosages are the same. However, you should always consult your medical healthcare provider before giving medication to a child. They will know best based on weight, age, and a variety of other health factors what dosage is best for your child.

Interactions

You should always tell your doctor what other medications or dietary supplements you are taking before taking Pyrantel.

There are a few medications known to interact with Pyrantel. If you take any of the following medications, let your doctor know before taking Pyrantel:

  • ARI Sodium Iodide (I123)
  • ARI Sodium Iodide (I123)
  • Hicon
  • I3odine Max
  • Iodotope
  • Sodium iodide i-123
  • Sodium iodide-i-131

Warnings

Pyrantel should not be taken by patients with hepatic disease. Pyrantel should be used carefully in patients with severe malnutrition or anemia, or who have experienced malnutrition or anemia in the past. Some therapy and support may be needed in patients with malnutrition or anemia before taking Pyrantel, as it may cause diarrhea or vomiting, which weakens the body.

While Pyrantel will treat worm infections in an individual, many types of worm infections (especially pinworms) often spread easily to others. This usually means that when one member of a household contracts a worm infection and is being treated for it, other members of the household should see a doctor and are often treated with the same dosage of Pyrantel, to prevent or stop a worm infection from the start. Always tell your housemates and others who may have been exposed to the infection to consult their doctor. Doctors will often recommend that all household members take Pyrantol, as you can contract many types of worms without observing immediate symptoms.

Pyrantel generally resolves infections within a few days, or at least begins to lessen the side effects of an infection quickly. If your condition does not improve, or worsens, in the days after taking Pyrantel, inform your doctor. Sometimes, these infections can come back or worsen, and other treatment may be necessary.

Some types of worm infections may return even after treatment with Pyrantel. Taking your recommended dosage in full, and following your doctor's recommendations can increase the chances of Pyrantel successfully curing your infection. There are other steps you can take to further help your infection stay away. Avoid scratching, especially around the buttocks. Change clothes and undergarments regularly. Wash your hands regularly, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating. After treatment, vacuum and mop your living space, especially your bedroom and bathroom. Be sure to also wash all bedsheets and pajamas.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant before taking Pyrantel. They can tell you whether Pyrantel is the best choice for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications or dietary supplements before taking Pyrantel. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had or currently have anemia or liver disease.

Pyrantel can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive until you know how Pyrantel may effect you. It is also best to limit intake of alcohol and marijuana while taking Pyrantel.

Storage

Pyrantel should be stored at room temperature, in a safe place out of direct sunlight and not in a moist environment. Bathrooms can often be too moist for medical storage. Ensure that Pyrantel is always out of the reach of children.

Liquid Pyrantel can usually be refrigerated. Still ensure that if refrigerated, it is out of the reach of children. Ask your doctor about proper storage.

If your Pyrantel is expired or you have extra medication that you don't need, the best way to dispose of it is through a medicine take-back program. You can find out about medicine take-back programs in your community from your local pharmacist. If there are no medicine take-back programs in your area, you should consult the FDA's guidelines on safe disposal of drugs.

Summary

Pyrantel is an anti-worm medication that is used to treat a variety of different worm infections, including (but not limited to) roundworm, hookworm, and pinworm. It paralyzes worms in the body, causing them to detach from intestinal walls and flush out of the body naturally. Pyrantel is a generic medication, and can be found under a number of different brand names. It is a generic medicine in the United States, meaning that many different pharmaceutical companies can produce and sell it. This makes Pyrantel a generally cheap medication, which is widely available. Pyrantel can often be found under brand names such as "Reese's Pinworm Medicine", "Pin-X", "Pin-Rid", "Helmex", and "Strongid". It is used by humans as well as some other animal species, including canines and felines.

Pyrantel has relatively few side effects. A rash is a rare but serious side effect of taking Pyrantel, and you should tell you doctor if you experience a rash after taking it. Other uncommon but less serious side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, and abdominal pain.

The recommended dosage for Pyrantel depends on what type of worm infection it is being used to treat. Oral Pyrantel is available in both a pill and a liquid dosage and can be taken with or without food at any time of the day.

For adults with pinworm infections, the recommended dosage is a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally, once. This is repeated after two weeks. For adults with hookworm infections, the recommended dosage is a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally, but taken three days in a row. For adults with Moniliformis infection, the recommended dosage is a 1 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally once. This dosage should then be repeated twice at two-week intervals. For adults with roundworm infections, and for many other types of worm infections, the recommended dosage is generally a 11 mg/kg base (maximum 1 g) orally once.

Pyrantel should be stored at room temperature, in a safe place out of direct sunlight and not in a moist environment. Liquid Pyrantel can usually be refrigerated.

Always tell your doctor about other medications you are taking, if you are pregnant, and if you have ever had a liver disease, anemia, or malnutrition.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
January 28, 2018
Last Updated:
January 27, 2018