(Wormers as they say in the Veterinary world)
Common Prescription Wormers and What They Are Used For*
(*Please don’t ask me to dispense the wormers listed below to humans. I can’t do that, but your doctor can and will if you build a case strong enough. And, I do need a client-patient relationship established to dispense it to your pets which necessitates a phone consultation.)
- Natural Wormers Nemex
- Prazi Pro
- Pyrantel Pamoate
- Pyrvinium pamoate
- Reese’s Pinworm Medicine
- Tape Worm Tabs
Wormers, dewormers, anthelmintics, vermicides, antiparasitic drugs, routine wormers, allopathic worming medicine–these are all terms you will run across when you have the need to deworm your critters, your children or yourself. They all mean the same thing although each drug works a bit differently. We won’t discuss natural wormers on this page.
Amprolium: Amprolium is an anticoccidial drug treating both intestinal and cecal Coccidia. It has also been used for many years and needs no withdrawal time to guard against residue in the meat. It is given in the drinking water and interferes with metabolism of the vitamin thiamin (vitamin B1) in Coccidia.
Epsiprantel: (Cestex) Treatment of choice for tapeworms (2 types) in dogs and cats available by prescription. The drug paralyzes the tapeworm causing it to lose its attachment to the host’s (pet’s) intestine and also causing the tapeworm to become susceptible to digestion by the host so that it is not seen in the stool after treatment. Usual Dose and Administration: Dog 2.5 mg/pound by mouth once. Cats 1.25 mg/pound by mouth once. No need to withhold food before treating. The treatment may need to be repeated if the pet eats an infected intermediate host again. Intermediate hosts the flea, dog louse, rabbit, rodent, uncooked or undercooked meats (like beef, lamb, pork, and venison), uncooked or undercooked fish, and dead livestock/wildlife. Side Effects: Rare. May see vomiting or diarrhea. Use with caution in pregnant or nursing animals although detrimental effects would be unlikely as the drug is not well absorbed into the body. There are no known drug interactions and there is a wide margin of safety. Reference: https://www.drugs.com/vet/cestex.html
Fenbendazole (FBZ, Panacur, Safe-Guard): Fenbendazole is used in both large and small animals. Treatment is necessary for three consecutive days. Treatment may require a second course depending on which parasite is being treated. In dogs, it is useful against roundworms, hookworms, and the more difficult to treat whipworms. It is effective against some Taenia species of tapeworm but not against the common tapeworm Dipylidium caninum. It is also effective against Giardia, a protozoan and several species of lungworm and even some flukes. Fenbendazole is not approved and rarely required for feline use but can certainly be used safely in the cat. I’ve used it for lungworm in several cases over the years. Side Effects: There are no significant drug interactions with FBZ, but some animals experience vomiting/nausea after deworming. It is considered safe for use in pregnancy. Reference for Fenbendazole: https://www.drgecko.com
Ionophores: Ionophores are anticoccidials commonly used in the large-scale livestock industry. They alter the function of the cell membrane and rupture the parasite. Ionophores also have antibacterial action and help prevent secondary gut diseases. Ionophores are not synthetic drugs; they are produced by fermentation and include Monensin (Coban®) and Salinomycin (Sacox®). However, some ionophores are now completely ineffective against Coccidia because of resistance the Coccidia have developed. They are used for prevention and often added to swine and other livestock rations. Reference for Monensin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monensin
Ivermectin (Zimectrin, Zimectrin Gold, Stromectol® Mectizan® Ivexterm® HeartGard, Accarex): In the mid-1980’s, ivermectin was introduced as probably the most broad-spectrum anti-parasite medication ever. It is effective against most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms), most mites, and some lice. It is used in humans in the treatment of onchocerciasis, but is also effective against other worm infestations such as strongyloidiasis, ascariasis, trichuriasis and enterobiasis. More recent evidence supports its off-label use in the treatment of mites such as scabies. It is not effective against fleas, ticks, flies, or flukes. It is effective against larval heartworms (the “microfilariae” that circulate in the blood) but not against adult heartworms (that live in the heart and pulmonary arteries).
One Certified Organic organization says “When all else fails, use ivermectin.” This is not organic in any way and has a list of side affects three pages long! Ivermectin has its uses, but should be used only if necessary. I like this statement found on one site: WHILE WE RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO BUY IVERMECTIN (IVOMEC®) THROUGH SOME CATALOGS, WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE THIS PRACTICE GIVEN THE PRECISE DOSES USED FOR SMALL ANIMALS AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS IF THE PRODUCT IS INCORRECTLY USED. Although many of you may have this drug for treating your livestock, you should definitely leave this drug up to the professionals. It’s just not a “lay person” type of drug. It’s pretty toxic and can cause some neurological and respiratory problems—I know, I’ve seen it. I accidentally overdosed a puppy once and it ended up having neurological tremors for about 24 hours. Gee, it seemed like such a small amount too! It really freaked me out. References: https://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_ivermectin.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivermectin
Mebendazole (MBZ, Ovex®, Vermox®, Antiox® or Pripsen®) is used for roundworms in general including pinworms and hookworms. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mebendazole
Metronidazole (Flagyl, Rozex, MetroGel) is used for treating anaerobic bacterial infections and protozoal infections like Giardia, Amoeba, Chryptosproridium, Balantidium, Trichomonas, Helicobacter (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.) Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metronidazole
Moxidectin: Moxidectin is an active ingredient found in products given to animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, and cattle, for the prevention, treatment and / or control of common internal and external parasites, such as heartworms. Products with moxidectin come in different forms, including orals, topical solutions, and injectables. Moxidectin works by selectively binding to high affinity glutamate-gated chloride ion channels and agonist activity at GABA complexes, which are critical to the function of invertebrate nerve and muscle cells. This interferes with the parasite’s neurotransmission, resulting in its paralysis and ultimately death. Moxidectin is also used in products to treat horses for large and small strongyles, encysted cyathostomes, ascarids, pinworms, hair worms, large-mouth stomach worms, and horse stomach bots. Data shows that horses less than six months of age who are treated with those products have a higher incidence of adverse reactions, including ataxia, apparent depression/lethargy, and recumbency. Also known at Quest (horse wormer). Reference: https://www.moxidectinfacts.com/questions.cfm
- Artemesia cina
- Azadirachta indica
- Basic H, Shaklee
- Black Walnut
- Carica Papaya
- Carrot seeds (Dancas carota)
- Cascara sagrada
- Chenopodium ambrosoiodes (Goosefoot)
- Copper sulfate
- Cucurbita Mexicana
- Diatomaceous earth
- Fiddlehead fern (Dryopteris filixmas)
- Ginger root (Asarum canadense)
- Juniper (Juniper communis)
- Mustard seed, black or white
- Pink root
- Seeds of squash, pumpkin and other vine crops
- Surfactants: Shaklee Basic H
- Tansy seeds (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Wormwood (Artemesia vulgaris)
Nicarbizone (Nicarb® and Clinicox®) is used to treat Coccidia infections in chickens. Apparently it helps the meat birds to grow. It affects hatchability of the eggs and is used occasionally to prevent overpopulations of some bird species (like pigeons). I suspect if it does that to birds, it will do the same to people! Here’s a reference for one product called Ovocontro that contains nicrarbizone. Reference: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/coccidiosis.html
Niclosamide (Nicloside) is used for treating tapeworms. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niclosamide
Praziquantel (Bilitricide, Cesol, Cysticide, Cestaject, Cest-tabs, Profender, Droncit, D-Worm, Tape Worm Tabs, Prazi Pro) is used for most flatworms (trematodes or flukes) and is also used to treat Schistosomaisis (an African disease) and tapeworms. Praziquantel has only recently been available without prescription. This drug is available as a pill or as an injection for pets. Once administered, Praziquantel will dissolve the tapeworm within the intestine, so this worm is not usually seen passed in the stool. Most veterinarians will dispense this medication to current patients (seen within the last 12 months). Your veterinarian may want to see your pet for an accurate weight, as this medication is dosed according to weight. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/praziquantel
Pyrantel Pamoate (Equi-Phar, Pro-Tal, Strongid-T, Nemex, and the human brand names: Antiminth, Pin-X, Reese’s Pinworm Medicine) Pyrantel pamoate kills adult pinworms. It does not kill pinworm eggs. Pyrantel pamoate is a nonprescription medication commonly used for pinworm infections. It is taken once a definite diagnosis of pinworms has been made by either seeing the worms or doing a transparent cellophane tape test. In my opinion, the safest, cheapest, easiest, most effective way to worm yourself and your pets of the most common worms (roundworms/ pinworms) is to go to the local feed store and get a bottle of horse or dog roundwormer—Equi-Phar, ProTal, Strongid-T, and Nemex are all trade names of Pyrantel Pamoate. Make sure it says Pyrantel Pamoate on the label and nothing else added. Combination wormers are not always needed and not always safe.
Use the dose of 5-10 mg/kilogram bodyweight for dogs and humans and 1 ½ times that dose for cats. If you are not good at math, you’ll want to double-check that you are taking the correct dosage with someone who can help you. Although this wormer is so safe that you can take 40 times the amount with no harmful side effects, you don’t want to under-dose or overdose. And, “If a little is good, a LOT is not necessary better.” If you feel a slight nausea after taking it, eat a few crackers to settle your stomach. Sometimes the worms dying off will cause a bit of nausea.
SIDE EFFECTS of pyrantel pamoate are not very common but may include: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These are the most commonly seen side effects. But one can also experience transient headache, dizziness, and sleeplessness or develop a slight rash in some cases. If side effects develop after the initial dose, a second dose (normally taken in about two weeks) should not be taken without talking with a health professional. Pyrantel pamoate can be taken with food, milk, or juice, or on an empty stomach. Because pinworm eggs can survive for 2 weeks after treatment with pyrantel pamoate, reinfection can occur. Treatment with a second dose is usually recommended. Do not give pyrantel pamoate to pregnant women, breast-feeding women, or children younger than age 2 without first talking with a health professional. Pyrantel pamoate gets rid of pinworm infections more than 90% of the time. However, reinfection with pinworms is very common. Reference: https://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/hw49694
Sulfadimethoxine (Albon®, Bactrovet®, or Tribrissen®) is a Sulfamonaide drug. Sufas act as both antibiotic and coccidiostats. Straight sulfa drugs when first discovered caused severe side-affects and were hard on the kidneys. Nowadays, comparatively small amounts of sulfamonaides, such as sulfaquinoxaline, are used. They work only against Eimeria acervulina and Eimeria maxima, not against Eimeria tenella.
Quinolones: Quinolones are “coccidiostats” that arrest the Coccidia in an early stage of development. An example is Decoquinate (Deccox®). The drugs are used for prevention.
Thiabendazole (TBZ, Mintezol, Tresederm) is used for roundworms, hookworms and helminthes (which includes lice, fleas and ear mites) Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiabendazole