Albendazole is a popular drug used for the treatment of brain or muscular conditions caused by tapeworm infestations. In some cases, these worms may also cause eye conditions as well as diseases triggered by dog tapeworms. These worms are known to cause cysts on the lining of your abdominal tract. Albendazole is categorized under a family of drugs known as anthelmintic meds. If this drug is in short supply, your treating doctor may prescribe a few alternatives. It is important to know more about the type of substitutes available as well as about their uses.

Albendazole has a wide range of uses. Apart from dog and pork-genre of tapeworms, the drug is also used for treating hookworms, pinworms and a few other forms of macro-parasites such as flukes. Though this drug is widely considered as safe, it may cause a few side effects like headaches, drowsiness, abdominal pains or other discomforts like vomiting and nausea. This drug is not given to people with blood conditions like anemia or those living with liver dysfunction. There are however a few alternatives to albendazole such as mebendazole, praziquantel, ivermectin, etc. It can be very helpful to know more about these substitutes.

Mebendazole is a vermicide medication and its main function is to inhibit hatching of parasitical larva in your system. Like albendazole, this drug also has a wide range of uses; its main use rests in the prevention of infections by hookworms, pinworms, roundworms and whipworms. It is however important to tell your doctor about prior allergies or hypersensitivity to this drug. Mebendazole is likely to pass through mother’s milk. Hence, women who are breastfeeding an infant must stay away from using this deworming med. The effects of this drug on your fetus remain largely unknown. Hence, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you must tell your doctor about it. As a safety measure, you are advised to use suitable birth control measures like vaginal rings, skin patches or ovulation control pills while taking this drug.

The use of mebendazole is not recommended for infants aged below 3 years. The typical dose is for 2 to 3 days; but, it may start showing favour results only after 14 – 21 days. However, if you do not see positive results even after say, 20 days –your doctor may advise restarting the treatment plan. A few people who took a dual dose of this drug reported discoloration of skin, drop in appetite levels and pain in the upper part of stomach. You are advised to seek medical attention as quickly as possible upon witnessing any of these signs.

Praziquantel is administered for treating infections caused by flukes and a few other parasites. This medicine also belongs to a class of drugs called anthelmintic meds. The key function of this drug is to immobilize parasites. Once they are immobilized, they let go of their hold on linings of blood vessels. This makes it easy to flush them out of your system. It is important to check for the presence of eye disorders before starting to take praziquantel. Also, if your clinical history includes conditions like fits, convulsions, erratic heartbeats, liver conditions like hepatitis or cirrhosis, you need to keep your medical team informed of such conditions.

Praziquantel may make you drowsy; hence, it is not advised to take alcohol or other intoxicants while consuming this anthelmintic medicine. This drug may interact adversely with meds like anticonvulsants (phenobarbital, phenytoin as well as carbamazepine), antifungal drugs of the azole variant – for example, ketoconazole, itraconazole, etc. As a safe practice, you are advised to make a list of the drugs you are presently taking. While making this list, ensure to include over the counter (OTC) meds, prescription drugs, herbal supplements as well as dietary aids.

Ivermectin is a drug widely used to treat infections caused by roundworms. Similar to praziquantel, this anthelmintic drug also freezes parasitic worms. Once made inactive, these parasites are naturally excreted from your system. Usually, the dosages of ivermectin are based on your clinical condition, body weight and also based on how your system responds to the initial doses. It is essential to share details about existing medical conditions – especially if you are living with liver disorders. Ivermectin is likely to interact with a few co-administered meds such as lorazepam, barbiturates, etc.

This drug is likely to cause a few side effects such as abdominal discomforts (nausea, vomiting as well as indigestion), drowsiness, body pain and headaches. Your doctor may advise not to do activities needing mental focus; as a safety measure, never operate heavy machines or perform tasks like driving, etc. In a few instances, ivermectin has triggered some allergic conditions like hives, itchiness as well as rashes on skin, respiratory troubles and inflammation of oral organs like tongue, lips or throat.

General precautions for the safe intake of one of these alternatives

In some cases, people have taken one of these alternatives without proper guidance. It is also likely to take an overdose of one of these substitutes. You may experience signs like passing out, fainting or convulsions when an overdose is taken. Upon noticing one of these signs, it is highly recommended to call 911 if you are a resident of US. You may also reach out to the emergency helpline numbers of the food and drug administration (FDA). Residents of Canada can either call Health Canada or contact a poison control center situated in the province where you reside.

Your treating doctor may advise periodic tests or medical exams to know the efficacy of the treatment plan. For instance, stool tests are recommended to check the status of parasites living in intestines. Some of these alternatives of albendazole are unlikely to kill all types of worms; for example – ivermectin may not be efficient against worms like adult forms of onchocerca volvulus. It is important to store these drugs at a safe place which is protected from direct sources of light. It is not a good practice to store these drugs in your toilets or bathrooms; such places may have excessive levels of moisture. Exposure to more moisture content may also lessen the efficacy of these anthelmintic medicines.

In sum, there are a few alternatives to albendazole like mebendazole, praziquantel, ivermectin, etc. Mebendazole inhibits the hatching of larva of parasites. Similar to albendazole, this med has a wide range of applications and can control infections caused due to roundworms, whipworms hookworms and pinworms. On the other hand, praziquantel is used for managing infections triggered by flukes in the liver. Ivermectin is noted for its ability to treat roundworm infestations. Always remember that any of the above alternatives needs to be used only after consulting a qualified medical practitioner or a pharmacist.

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