What are the Different Types of Pinworm Medications?

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  • Written By: F. Hay
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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Pinworms — tiny, thread-like, white worms from the genus Enterobius — are parasites that thrive in an infected person's intestines. These worms are treated with anthelmintics, which are anti-parasite medications. The different types of anthelmintics used to treat pinworms include mebendazole, albendazole, and pyrantel. Some pinworm medications can be purchased over the counter, but most are available by prescription.

An anthelmintic, also known as a dewormer or anti-parasitic, is an oral medication. Anthelmintics rid the body of parasites by killing or stunning the adult worm so that the infected person expels the pinworm naturally through the stool. A common symptom of a pinworm infection is anal itching; a topical anti-itching cream applied to the anus is helpful in relieving this irritating symptom. Oral pinworm medications for the internal treatment and an anti-itch cream for the external symptoms of a pinworm infection can be an effective combination for eradicating pinworms and relieving bothersome discomfort.

Mebendazole is a chewable tablet used to treat several different types of worm infections. This medication may cause stomach upset and diarrhea, and should not be used by people who have had stomach or liver problems. Mebendazole may also interact with some medications, including phenytoin and carbamazepine.


Albendazole is another prescription drug available as a tablet. It is primarily used to treat pork tapeworms and echinococcosis, but also works on pinworms. Albendazole can cause nausea, headache, fever, and dizziness.

Pyrantel is available as a liquid or capsule, and is usually taken in a single dose. Like other anthelmintics, it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, along with stomach pain and cramping.

Whether the choice of pinworm treatment is pill form or liquid, successful treatment usually requires a redosing of pinworm medications because the medicine does not kill the eggs, only the pinworms themselves. A second treatment of pinworm medications should be taken two weeks after the initial treatment in order to kill any adult pinworms which may have subsequently hatched. An important step in preventing transmission from an infected individual or reinfestation is to practice good hygiene. As pinworm infections are highly contagious, hand washing with soap and water throughout the day, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, is imperative. Bedding and clothing should be washed in the hottest water possible in order to kill any pinworms or their eggs.

A pinworm infection can happen to anyone, but it is most commonly found among children or household members of an infected person. Over-the-counter treatments and fastidious hygiene can be the first line of attack in getting rid of pinworms. If over-the-counter treatments fail, then a physician should be consulted in order to obtain prescription pinworm drugs. Due to the fact that pinworms are highly contagious, physicians often recommend treatment for the entire household in order to completely destroy an infestation.


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How do nursing mothers get rid of pinworm infection. What tablet should be taken?

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