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mebendazole (Oral route)

Pronunciation

me-BEN-da-zole

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Vermox

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Suspension
  • Tablet, Chewable

Therapeutic Class: Anthelmintic

Chemical Class: Benzimidazole

Uses For mebendazole

Mebendazole belongs to the family of medicines called anthelmintics. Anthelmintics are medicines used in the treatment of worm infections.

Mebendazole is used to treat:

  • Common roundworms (ascariasis);
  • Hookworm infections (uncinariasis);
  • Pinworms (enterobiasis; oxyuriasis);
  • Whipworms (trichuriasis); and
  • More than one worm infection at a time.

mebendazole may also be used for other worm infections as determined by your doctor.

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Mebendazole works by keeping the worm from absorbing sugar (glucose). This gradually causes loss of energy and death of the worm.

Mebendazole is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using mebendazole

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For mebendazole, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to mebendazole or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

mebendazole has been tested in a limited number of children 2 years of age or older and, in effective doses, has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of mebendazole in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of mebendazole. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Crohn's disease or
  • Liver disease or
  • Ulcerative colitis—Patients with these diseases may have an increased chance of side effects from mebendazole

Proper Use of mebendazole

Mebendazole usually comes with patient directions. Read them carefully before using mebendazole.

No special preparations or other steps (for example, special diets, fasting, other medicines, laxatives, or enemas) are necessary before, during, or immediately after taking mebendazole.

Mebendazole tablets may be chewed, swallowed whole, or crushed and mixed with food.

For patients taking mebendazole for hookworms, roundworms, or whipworms:

  • To help clear up your infection completely, take mebendazole exactly as directed by your doctor for the full time of treatment. In some patients a second course of mebendazole may be required to clear up the infection completely. Do not miss any doses.

For patients taking mebendazole for pinworms:

  • To help clear up your infection completely, take mebendazole exactly as directed by your doctor. A second course of mebendazole is usually required to clear up the infection completely.
  • Pinworms may be easily passed from one person to another, especially in a household. Therefore, all household members may have to be treated at the same time. This helps to prevent infection or reinfection of other household members. Also, all household members may have to be treated again in 2 to 3 weeks to clear up the infection completely.

For patients taking mebendazole for infections in which high doses are needed:

  • Mebendazole is best taken with meals, especially fatty ones (for example, meals that include whole milk or ice cream). This helps to clear up the infection by helping your body absorb the medicine better. However, if you are on a low-fat diet, check with your doctor.

Dosing

The dose of mebendazole will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of mebendazole. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (chewable tablets):
    • For common roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms:
      • Adults and children 2 years of age and over—100 milligrams (mg) two times a day, morning and evening, for three days. Treatment may need to be repeated in two to three weeks.
      • Children up to 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For pinworms:
      • Adults and children 2 years of age and over—100 mg once a day for one day. Treatment may need to be repeated in two to three weeks.
      • Children up to 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For more than one worm infection at a time:
      • Adults and children 2 years of age and over—100 mg two times a day, morning and evening, for three days.
      • Children up to 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of mebendazole, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using mebendazole

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, especially in infections in which high doses are needed. This is to make sure that the infection is cleared up completely and to allow your doctor to check for any unwanted effects.

If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

For patients taking mebendazole for pinworms:

  • In some patients, pinworms may return after treatment with mebendazole. Washing (not shaking) all bedding and nightclothes (pajamas) after treatment may help to prevent this.
  • Some doctors may also recommend other measures to help keep your infection from returning. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

For patients taking mebendazole for hookworms or whipworms :

  • In hookworm and whipworm infections anemia may occur. Therefore, your doctor may want you to take iron supplements to help clear up the anemia. If so, it is important to take iron every day while you are being treated for hookworms or whipworms; do not miss any doses. Your doctor may also want you to keep taking iron supplements for up to 6 months after you stop taking mebendazole. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

mebendazole Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare
  • Fever
  • skin rash or itching
  • sore throat and fever
  • unusual tiredness and weakness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain or upset
  • diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
Rare
  • Dizziness
  • hair loss
  • headache

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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