An antiparasitic is medicine designed to eradicate infections of parasites on or in human or animal bodies. Some of these are well-known and don’t need prescriptions. Lice shampoos can easily be purchased in over the counter formulations and applied topically. Yet an antiparasitic drug can be stronger and might come in oral formulations to kill parasite infestations that are internal. These may be prescribed, and there are different medications suited to different types of parasites.
Many antiparasitics are used to treat different forms of internal worm infestations. Worm infestations might either occur as a result of ingestion or through things like bites from mosquitoes. Antinematodes are one group that can address infection with things like pinworms, tapeworms, roundworms or Filaria. Some of these medicines, such as pyrantel pamoate or mebendazole, will work with most nematodes or worms, and other medicines are best used with just a few types of parasites.
A few infections, especially of parasites like tapeworm could require more specific treatment with a separate antiparasitic class. Both praziquantel and niclosamide are called anticestodes. These target tapeworm, which are technically nematodes.
Some medicines treat parasitic infections caused by protozoa that enter the body. One of the most familiar protozoan infections is Giardia. An antiprotozoal like tinidazole may be prescribed for treatment.
Another antiparasitic class is made up of medicines used to treat amoebic infection. These sometimes are classed under different names. Occasionally they may be called antibacterials or antifungals, depending on type of drug being discussed.
Given the variety of antiparasitic types available, it is usually difficult to discuss things like side effects or treatment length. Some people might need extensive treatment if an infection is severe and hard to eliminate. Others could only need treatment for a few weeks. A simple infection of pinworms might mean taking a few pills over a two-week period. Provided this is accompanied by good hygiene, the infection is likely to resolve.
The complex nature of parasitic infections means observing a few rules when taking an antiparasitic. Just as with antibiotics, people are urged to completely finish medicine as directed by a doctor, and to not stop treatment even if they start to feel better. It’s possible for an infection to rebound without completing prescribed medications. Some infections can also be tenacious, and it may be necessary to extend treatment in certain instances or to switch medicines.
Humans are susceptible to certain parasites and occasionally things like hygiene play no role in getting parasitic infections. Getting a mosquito bite or acquiring lice usually says nothing about a person’s basic hygiene. In other cases, hygiene and food and water safety can prevent some infections, avoiding need to take an antiparasitic. People are advised to drink safe water, to always wash hands using restrooms, and to thoroughly cook meat. These preventatives may save people infection with many worm species, and different amoebic and protozoan species.
Choosing the best parasite treatment is usually a matter of understanding the contours of your condition and researching the available options. Different parasites often respond in different ways, which means that something that works for one person may not necessarily work for another. There are also usually many options, from intensive pharmaceutical drugs to natural and at-home remedies. Your decision will probably be driven in part by availability, as well as cost; how quickly different treatments can bring relief and any possible side effects will probably also be part of the equation. When in doubt, it’s usually a good idea to visit a medical expert. Though these visits can be costly, in the case of rare parasites or extensive infections they can also be life-saving.
Understand Your Parasite
There are many different types of parasites that people can contract. Most work in similar ways, namely by inhabiting the digestive tract and slowly siphoning off nutrients, but they typically respond to medication and eradication treatments slightly differently. For this reason it’s really important to understand the specifics of your suffering before you start any sort of treatment.
Sometimes you’ll be able to self-diagnose if you know where you contracted the parasite, or if someone close to you has similar symptoms and already has a positive diagnosis. Otherwise it may take a bit of research. Many parasites are acquired during travel or from contaminated food or water, but they can sometimes live in your body for months or even years in a dormant status, then suddenly start regenerating and causing trouble. If you aren’t sure what you’re dealing with the best thing to do is usually to get an official medical diagnosis, either from your medical care provider or a clinic or hospital; barring that, you can often make a good guess by documenting your symptoms and checking them against medical fact sheets and data, many of which are available in libraries and online.
Learn About the Options
It’s also a good idea to think about the different parasite treatment options and assess your comfort with each. In most cases you’ll have a few choices, and deciding which is best is often more about what works for your lifestyle, condition, and budget as opposed to what is truly superior. Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics or other intensive drug regimens, though there are also usually a number of home-based and herbal remedies that can get good results for most infections.
Pharmaceutical and Drug-Based Treatments
Drug treatments are some of the most common, in part because they are tend to be the most effective. They also tend to be expensive, however, and are usually only available in consultation with a licensed medical practitioner. These sorts of treatments are usually tailored to the infected individual and to the specific parasite at issue. For example, mebendazole has been determined to treat hookworm, roundworm and pinworm infections successfully. Thiabendazole is generally considered to be the best treatment for porkworms and threadworms, and a combination cocktail of metronidazole and nitazoxanide can treat giardiasis infections. The latter can also rid the body of cryptosporidiosis infections. Most of these drugs will work for most parasitic infestations, but medical experts can dose them in such a way that they will be very targeted, which can lessen the amount of time you’ll have to take them and can prevent spreading the parasite to others in the meantime.
Drug treatments usually have to be taken completely, which means that you’ll need to keep taking your pills or injections even once you feel better. You will also usually need to make regular check-up appointments with your care provider so that he or she can monitor the parasite’s progress and make sure it’s gone for good. This can take a lot of time and energy, not to mention expense.
You might also decide that natural remedies are the best course for you, at least at first. Herbal and at-home treatments can be just as effective as their conventional counterparts when it comes to killing parasites, though in most cases these methods focus on starving out the parasites rather than killing them with chemicals. Eating foods like garlic, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper just before and just after meals can create a hostile intestinal environment, for example; other things, like pumpkin seeds, pomegranate juice, cinnamon, and probiotic yogurt can also change the chemical balance in the digestive tract so as to kill the parasite more or less naturally. You usually will need to eat a lot of these types of foods and supplements, but in the right quantities you might get good results.
Participating in what’s known as an intestinal cleanse might also be a good choice. Herbs such as wormwood, black hull nut, and cloves are some of the most important ingredients in any parasite cleanse, and people are usually encouraged to eat these either raw or infused in a tea for a number of days on end. Most of the time you’ll want to severely curtail the other foods you eat, focusing on complex proteins that are difficult to break down and digest. You should usually eliminate simple carbohydrates and sugars, which can provide the parasite with quick energy and growth potential. Cleanses can take awhile, and the results are less certain; still, in many cases they can be quite successful.
When to Get Help
Natural remedies are usually most effective for minor infections or for parasites that are small and relatively immature. Large-scale growths or problems that have been going on for a really long time usually require professional medical intervention. If you sense that you’re getting worse on an at-home care plan or don’t see any change after a month or so of continuous efforts, it’s usually a good idea to get professional help. Parasites can be really serious, particularly if they’re rare or mutated. It’s hard to know these things at the beginning, but getting help as soon as you suspect a more serious problem can make a huge difference.