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What Is Niclosamide?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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Niclosamide is a generic medication that a doctor may prescribe to treat a wide range of worm infections. It may help treat infections such as beef tapeworm, dwarf tapeworm, and broad tapeworm infections, as well as other types of tapeworms. This medicine will not be effective for all types of parasitic infections, such as roundworms or pinworms. Niclosamide is an anthelmintic that kills the tapeworms as soon as it comes into contact with them. The patient will then pass the dead tapeworms in his stool; however, they may or may not be visible.

Patients who take niclosamide for the treatment of dwarf tapeworms may need to take dosages for seven full days; however, some patients may also need a second course of treatment to completely rid the body of tapeworms. Adults will typically take 2 grams (g) daily for dwarf tapeworms. Those with other types of tapeworms, such as fish or beef tapeworms, may only need a single dose of 2 g. The doctor will monitor the patient and will prescribe another dose no sooner than seven days following the first, if it is needed.

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This medicine is available as a tablet. Unlike many other pills, the niclosamide tablet must be thoroughly chewed before swallowing it with water. Young children who have trouble with this may take the dosage ground up and mixed into water until it forms a paste. Usually, the doctor will instruct the patient to take the drug on an empty stomach. Those who experience stomach upset may take any subsequent doses with a light meal.

Some side effects may occur with the use of niclosamide, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they are bothersome or persistent. Patients may experience abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, along with diarrhea and loss of appetite. Rarely, an unpleasant taste, drowsiness, and dizziness may also occur. Some patients have reported a skin rash or rectal itching.

Before taking niclosamide to treat a tapeworm infection, patients must disclose their other medical conditions and any other medications or supplements they may be taking to avoid a potential interaction. As of 2011, niclosamide is not known to cause harm to an unborn baby or a nursing infant. Patients should disclose whether they use tobacco or alcohol, as well as whether they have any allergies. As of 2011, the safety and efficacy of niclosamide in children younger than two years of age has not been established.

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