Antiparasitic drugs can be used for prophylaxis and for treatment.
It is helpful to understand the parasite life cycle when determining treatment regimens.
Prophylaxis is most commonly used for malaria (Plasmodium). However, the fact that drugs are used at lower doses for prophylaxis has led to emergence of resistance.
Treatment of parasites must often be done at a population level, where infections are frequently asymptomatic and where humans act as a principal reservoir.
Parasites unfortunately represent the majority of neglected diseases in the world, and research and development into new, more effective and less toxic treatments is slow. However, progress is being made, through efforts of thr WHO and MSF.
Antiparasitic drugs include:
Adverse effects occur in 4-20% of patients and are usually mild and transient. They can include:
There are no contraindications, but it should be used with caution in patients with liver dysfunction.
Single-dose regimens of oral albendazole (Albenza), mebendazole (Vermox), and pyrantel pamoate are effective against Ascaris lumbricoides. Only albendazole is effective against hookworm. No single-dose regimen appears effective against Trichuris trichiura.