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Hookworm Treatments for Humans

by
author image Joseph Pritchard
Joseph Pritchard graduated from Our Lady of Fatima Medical School with a medical degree. He has spent almost a decade studying humanity. Dr. Pritchard writes as a San Francisco biology expert for a prominent website and thoroughly enjoys sharing the knowledge he has accumulated.
Hookworm Treatments for Humans
A parasitic hookworm under the microscope. Photo Credit defun/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Hookworm disease is the infection with a roundworm parasite in the small intestine and lungs. Each parasite is approximately 1/2 inch long. Over 1 billion people worldwide suffer from hookworm infestation, according to Medline Plus, a National Institutes of Health website. Most patients hail from tropical or subtropical regions. Hookworms are particularly dangerous in children who do not have the ability to fight off the parasite. Treatment for hookworm disease focuses on eradicating the parasite and relieving serious symptoms that the worm can cause.

Mebendazole

Mebendazole, which comes in chewable 100mg tablets, works by preventing the parasite from using glucose. Without glucose the parasite has no energy to perform the tasks necessary for its survival. Drugs.com states that the drug cures hookworm infection 96 percent of the time. Side effects of the Mebendazole include temporary abdominal pain, rash, convulsions and liver damage.

Albendazole

Albendazole is a medication that specifically kills roundworms. Albendazole interferes with certain processes that the hookworm needs to perform in order to survive within the patient. By interrupting the parasite’s metabolism, the drug kills it. The dead worms are excreted in the patient’s stool. Albendazole should be taken with food in order to prevent patients from suffering from an upset stomach, which is a common side effect of the drug.

Pyrantel

Pyrantel is an anthelmentic drug, which means that it kills parasites such as the hookworm and other roundworms. Pyrantel is often used in patients with a roundworm infection or in patients with infestations of multiple worms. Pyrantel works in multiple simultaneous parasitic infections because the drug can eradicate many different types of worms. The drug works by paralyzing the worm, which allows the patient to pass the worm in the stool. Pyrantel should be used cautiously in pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and patients with liver disease. In each of these cases, other forms of treatment for a hookworm infection should be used before trying pyrantel.

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