An antiparasitic is medicine designed to eradicate infections of parasites on or in human or animal bodies. Some of these are well-known and don’t need prescriptions. Lice shampoos can easily be purchased in over the counter formulations and applied topically. Yet an antiparasitic drug can be stronger and might come in oral formulations to kill parasite infestations that are internal. These may be prescribed, and there are different medications suited to different types of parasites.
Many antiparasitics are used to treat different forms of internal worm infestations. Worm infestations might either occur as a result of ingestion or through things like bites from mosquitoes. Antinematodes are one group that can address infection with things like pinworms, tapeworms, roundworms or Filaria. Some of these medicines, such as pyrantel pamoate or mebendazole, will work with most nematodes or worms, and other medicines are best used with just a few types of parasites.
A few infections, especially of parasites like tapeworm could require more specific treatment with a separate antiparasitic class. Both praziquantel and niclosamide are called anticestodes. These target tapeworm, which are technically nematodes.
Some medicines treat parasitic infections caused by protozoa that enter the body. One of the most familiar protozoan infections is Giardia. An antiprotozoal like tinidazole may be prescribed for treatment.
Another antiparasitic class is made up of medicines used to treat amoebic infection. These sometimes are classed under different names. Occasionally they may be called antibacterials or antifungals, depending on type of drug being discussed.
Given the variety of antiparasitic types available, it is usually difficult to discuss things like side effects or treatment length. Some people might need extensive treatment if an infection is severe and hard to eliminate. Others could only need treatment for a few weeks. A simple infection of pinworms might mean taking a few pills over a two-week period. Provided this is accompanied by good hygiene, the infection is likely to resolve.
The complex nature of parasitic infections means observing a few rules when taking an antiparasitic. Just as with antibiotics, people are urged to completely finish medicine as directed by a doctor, and to not stop treatment even if they start to feel better. It’s possible for an infection to rebound without completing prescribed medications. Some infections can also be tenacious, and it may be necessary to extend treatment in certain instances or to switch medicines.
Humans are susceptible to certain parasites and occasionally things like hygiene play no role in getting parasitic infections. Getting a mosquito bite or acquiring lice usually says nothing about a person’s basic hygiene. In other cases, hygiene and food and water safety can prevent some infections, avoiding need to take an antiparasitic. People are advised to drink safe water, to always wash hands using restrooms, and to thoroughly cook meat. These preventatives may save people infection with many worm species, and different amoebic and protozoan species.