Roundworm, or ascaris lumbricoides, is a parasitic infection. Roundworms can be between 6 and 13 inches, and their circumference can be as large as a pencil. Up to 100 worms can be present in one person, and the worms are common especially in tropical climates. In some cases, the worms can block the intestines and cause symptoms including digestive upset. Roundworms are generally treated with one of three drug therapies: Mebendazole, Albendazole or Pyrantel Pamoate.
Mebendazole is an anti-parasitic drug used to kill roundworms in humans. It generally comes in the form of a chewable tablet taken once in the morning and once in the evening. It can either be a single dose, or in a three-day form. The tablet can be swallowed whole, mixed with food or chewed, depending on the instructions on the prescription bottle. Rare side effects include stomach pain and diarrhoea.
Albendazole is an anti-worm medication used in the treatment of roundworms and other parasites. It works by preventing worms from reproducing. It usually comes in tablet form and should be taken with food. It is essential to continue taking the full course of the prescription even if symptoms improve. Potential side effects include stomach upset, including nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache or fever. It should not be taken if you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant within the next month, or are nursing a baby.
Pyrantel Pamoate, also known as Pin-X and Reese's Pinworm Medication, is available as an over-the-counter treatment for roundworm. It may work more slowly than the prescription medications, but is effective against most roundworm infections. Rare side effects include stomach upset, characterised by cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea; insomnia, dizziness, headache or rash.