Anthelmintics for Pinworms

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Anthelmintics for Pinworms


Generic NameBrand Name

How It Works

These prescription medicines kill both immature pinworms and adult pinworms. They do not kill pinworm eggs.

Why It Is Used

Albendazole and mebendazole treat infections caused by parasites, such as pinworms.

How Well It Works

Anthelmintics work well to cure pinworm infections. For example, two doses of mebendazole given about 2 weeks apart cures the infection in at least 90 out of 100 people who have pinworms.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you or your child has:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child has:

  • Hives.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Belly pain or upset stomach.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Headache.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Before you take albendazole, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it's safe for you to drink grapefruit juice during your treatment.

To help prevent pinworm reinfection and the spread of infection to others, wash your hands carefully and often, and wash clothes and bedding regularly. For more information, see the topic Pinworms.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Do not use albendazole if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy. If you are breast-feeding, do not use albendazole unless your doctor tells you to.

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use mebendazole unless your doctor tells you to.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Dent AE, Kazura JW (2007). Enterobiasis (Enterobius vermicularis). In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed., pp. 1500–1501. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last RevisedAugust 30, 2012

Last Revised: August 30, 2012

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