Parasites are of multiple types; based on their size, they are classified as micro and macro-parasites. Worms belong to the category called macro-parasites. Like most parasites, worms depend on the host for food and sustenance. The hosting organism soon turns weak and may also develop other medical conditions. Drugs such as albendazole are widely used for deworming. You need to know how to consume this drug; talking to your treating physician or pharmacist can be helpful.

Albendazole is used for a wide range of conditions caused by macro-parasites like worms. It is known to be effective against pinworms, worms causing filarial infections, etc. The food and drug administration (FDA) has approved this drug’s use for hydatid-disease triggered by tapeworms (especially, dog tapeworms); FDA approval also extends to use albendazole for infestations of larva of pork tapeworms. The condition triggered by pork tapeworms is labelled as neuro-cysticercosis. Owing its deworming properties, the drug is categorized under a class of medications called vermicides.

Glucose is essential for the growth and sustenance of macro-parasites like pinworms. Without glucose, it becomes difficult for both the larva and fully-grown pinworms to live. The key task of albendazole is to reduce the access of glucose to macro-parasites. Apart from exhausting access to glucose (i.e., glycogen), this drug also prevents division of cells; in general, this division occurs by forming spindle-shaped fibers. Once the formation of these fibers is inhibited, it eventually stops the production of eggs. As an extended benefit, the active ingredients can also stop hatching already laid eggs of these parasitical worms.

How to take albendazole for treating worm infestations?

This vermicide is taken orally. The usual dosage is once or twice in a 24-hour timespan. Children are more likely to be infested by macro-parasites like pinworms, tapeworms and ringworms. If your children are having problems in swallowing, you can powder these pills. In cases of an acute spell of hydatid-disease, your doctor may advise a daily dose of two tablets; the medication plan may last for 3 to 4 weeks. Once you have taken it for 4 weeks, the dosages are stopped for about 14 days.

It is highly recommended to follow all the instructions of your treating doctor. Never compare your dosage plan with someone with a similar medical condition. Usually, no two people are administered with the same dosage plan. This is mainly because each person’s dosage plan depends on factors like your underlying clinical condition, existence of other ailments – if any, body weight, age and how well your system responds to the first few doses. It is a good practice to use this drug as prescribed – i.e., in a regular manner. Intake of albendazole at the same timeslot each day is known to have fetched better outcomes. Above all, you are advised to study the information booklet provided along with this drug. In case you need more clarifications, talk to your pharmacist or the treating physician.

Other precautions associated with the use of albendazole

A few other drugs such as anticonvulsants or steroids (especially, corticosteroids) may also be recommended to manage your medical condition. In such instances, adhere to the instructions given by your physician. Upon witnessing an interim relief, some people may be tempted to stop taking this drug. It is an unsafe practice; an untimely discontinuation of albendazole – i.e., without informing your treating doctor – can lead to relapse of infestations by tapeworms, ringworms or pinworms. It is a good practice to always talk to your physician if you decide to stop taking this drug.

Juices extracted from grapefruit do not go well with this drug. Your dietitian will tell you not to drink the juice or consume the fruit while taking albendazole. Those who took juice of grapefruit or ate the fruit witnessed a few acute side effects. Side effects such as temporary loss of hair, abdominal discomforts like vomiting, nausea or indigestion and frequent spells of headache are commonly observed. Intake of grapefruit or its juices may only aggravate some of these side effects.

Discomforts and adverse side effects associated with intake of albendazole

Albendazole may not trigger any serious side effects or very adverse reactions in most people. However, in some remote instances, a small minority of users noticed very adverse side effects like discoloration of skin or eyes, acute spells of migraines, severe episodes of stomach pains, internal bleeding or bruising, etc. In very rare cases, some people have witnessed symptoms of a likely renal problem – typical symptoms include reduced discharge of urine, darkening of urine, pain in lower abdomen, etc. In one-off instances, a small set of users reported fits, convulsions or epileptic seizures.

Likely allergic reactions associated with the use of albendazole

Use of this drug is generally considered as safe, and is unlikely to trigger any major allergic reactions. But, if you are experiencing rashes on skin, itchiness, inflammation of tongue, lips or throat, acute spells of drowsiness and respiratory problems (like wheezing, gasping or shortened breathing cycles), you are advised to take medical help without delay. People living in the US are recommended to call 911 and seek medical attention on an urgent basis. Residents of US can also reach out to the emergency hotline numbers of the FDA for needful care. On the other hand, people residing in Canada can establish contact with Health Canada or can seek clinical care from a poison control center located nearer to where you live, on an emergency basis.

Above all, you need to remember that your medical team has prescribed the use of albendazole only after duly understanding your present clinical condition. Also, this medicine is administered as its benefits clearly outweigh the risks of side effects or other possible allergies. Never forget to tell your doctor if you are living with hepatic disorders or blood related problems. Those who are planning to become pregnant need to take proper birth control measures while using albendazole; your doctor may advise a continued use of birth control pills or vaginal rings for a few days, – i.e., even after discontinuing the medication plan.

In sum, albendazole can treat infections caused by macro-parasites such as worms. FDA has cleared this drug to be used for infestations of larva of pork tapeworms as well as for treating hydatid-disease triggered by dog-tapeworms. You are advised to read the instructions printed on the information booklet or consult your pharmacist as well as treating doctor to know how to use this anthelmintic drug.

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