Generic Name: pyrantel (pi-RAN-tel)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 22, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Anthelmintic
Uses for pyrantel
Pyrantel belongs to the family of medicines called anthelmintics. Anthelmintics are used in the treatment of worm infections.
Pyrantel is used to treat pinworms (enterobiasis; oxyuriasis).
Pyrantel 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.
Before using pyrantel
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:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pyrantel 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.
Pyrantel 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.
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.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while 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 pyrantel. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Liver disease
Proper use of pyrantel
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 pyrantel exactly as directed by your doctor. In some infections a second dose of pyrantel 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.
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 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 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.
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 pyrantel
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Pyrantel may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to pyrantel 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.
Pyrantel 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:
- Skin rash
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:
- Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- trouble in sleeping
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.
Frequently asked questions
More about pyrantel
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 9 Reviews
- Drug class: anthelmintics
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.