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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Pin-X
  • Reese's Pinworm Caplets
  • Reese's Pinworm Medicine

In Canada—

  • Combantrin

Generic name product may be available in the U.S.


  • Anthelmintic, oral-local


Pyrantel (pi-RAN-tel) belongs to the family of medicines called anthelmintics (ant-hel-MIN-tiks) . Anthelmintics are used in the treatment of worm infections.

Pyrantel is used to treat pinworms (enterobiasis; oxyuriasis).

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

Pyrantel works by paralyzing the worms. They are then passed in the stool.

Pyrantel is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Oral
  • Oral suspension (U.S. and Canada)
  • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

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 pyrantel, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pyrantel. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Pyrantel should not be taken during pregnancy unless recommended by your doctor. Studies have not been done in pregnant women. However, pyrantel has not been reported to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding—Only small amounts of pyrantel are absorbed into the body. Pyrantel has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. However, pyrantel is not recommended during breast-feeding.

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

Older adults—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 pyrantel in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other 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. When you are taking pyrantel, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:

  • Piperazine (e.g., Entacyl)—Using pyrantel and piperazine together may decrease the effectiveness of pyrantel

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

  • Liver disease

Proper Use of This Medicine

No special preparations (for example, special diets, fasting, other medicines, laxatives, or enemas) are necessary before, during, or immediately after you take pyrantel.

For patients taking pyrantel oral suspension :

  • Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
  • Shake the bottle well before using.

To help clear up your infection completely, take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor . In some infections a second dose of this medicine may be required to clear up the infection completely.

For patients taking pyrantel for pinworms :

  • Pinworms may be easily passed from one person to another, especially among persons in the same household. Therefore, all household members may have to be treated at the same time to prevent their infection or reinfection. Also, all household members may have to be treated again in 2 to 3 weeks to clear up the infection completely.

Dosing—The dose of pyrantel 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 pyrantel. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The number of tablets or teaspoonfuls of suspension 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 taking pyrantel .

  • For oral dosage forms (oral suspension or tablets):
    • Adults and children 2 years of age and older: Dose is based on body weight and will be determined by your doctor. It is taken as a single dose and may need to be repeated in two to three weeks.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the liquid form of this medicine from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

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

This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert . If these reactions are especially bothersome, check with your doctor.

For patients taking pyrantel for pinworms :

  • In some patients, pinworms may return after treatment with pyrantel. The following may help to prevent this:
    • Avoiding scratching the area around the buttocks.
    • Washing hands and fingernails with soap often during the day, especially before eating and after using the toilet.
    • Wearing tight underpants both day and night. Changing them daily.
    • Cleaning the bedroom floor by vacuuming or damp mopping for several days after treatment. Avoiding dry sweeping that may stir up dust.
    • Keeping the toilet seat clean.
    • Washing (not shaking) all bedding and nightclothes (pajamas) after treatment.
  • 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.

Side Effects of This Medicine

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:


Skin rash

Other 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. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common

Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; irritability; loss of appetite; nausea or vomiting; trouble in sleeping

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

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, pyrantel is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

  • Common roundworm infection
  • Hookworm infection
  • More than one worm infection at a time

For patients taking this medicine for hookworm infection :

  • Anemia (iron-poor blood) may occur in patients with hookworm infections. 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. 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 pyrantel. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.

Revised: 3/16/2000

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.