Do you suspect that you or someone in your family might have a helminthic infection? We must highlight right away that this problem is pretty common, although it is rarely openly discussed. So, according to the data provided by WHO, 24% of people on our planet are infected with some kind of helminth. Furthermore, there are effective and affordable treatments that allow solving this problem within a minimum term. Yet, one should never ignore it, otherwise, there is a high risk of complications.
How to Know if One Has a Helminthic Infection?
The main symptoms:
- pains in the abdomen;
- loss of weight;
- loss of appetite;
- blood in the stool;
- growth slowing down;
- problems with memory or other cognitive processes;
- rectal prolapse.
So, in case one notices any of these symptoms or has any other reasons to suspect an infection (for example, if one traveled to a country, where such infections are rather frequent), one must turn for medical consultation without a delay. In most cases, helminthic infections are diagnosed with the help of a stool test.
How Is It Treated?
As a rule, doctors prescribe oral medications ― they are easy to use and provide a decent therapeutic effect within a short term. The most common choice is Ivermectin, which is also known as Stromectol.
- effective for ascariasis, trichuriasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic filariasis, and strongyloidiasis;
- works by paralyzing parasites;
- has no toxic effect;
- is produced in three doses ― 3mg, 6mg, and 12mg;
- for most infections, a single dose is enough;
- the frequency of side effects is low;
- suits both adults and kids with a bodyweight of 15 kg and more;
- can be found in the generic version, which is several times cheaper than brand Stromectol.
- there is a certain risk of side effects (it is higher in the case of river blindness treatment as this infection is more severe);
- there is a risk that it will influence Warfarin levels and make the blood thinner;
- in the case of river blindness, one usually needs to repeat doses twice a year;
- to check the result of the treatment, one has to pass stool tests.
Ivermectin for Covid-19: Key Takeaways
- This infection is new, which is why, when it came, we had no drugs for it. As a result, the medical society decided to check whether any of the existing formulas have the potential to cure it.
- Ivermectin is supposed to possess antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, thus, it has been studied for its effectiveness against this new virus.
- Some studies have shown that it can reduce mortality from Covid-19 by up to 90%, but there are certain issues with their accuracy.
- Meanwhile, other studies show that its use for Covid-19 is senseless and even dangerous (when taken in extreme doses, it causes severe side effects).
- Thus, as of now, it is not approved for the treatment of this infection neither in the USA nor in most other countries.
- It is prescribed for Covid patients within clinical studies only.
- You must not take it to prevent or treat Covid-19 without receiving a prescription from your doctor.
Recommendations from Pharmacists
- Ivermectin is a prescription medication, so it is not meant for self-treatment. Use it on your doctor’s recommendation only.
- Do not reduce the dose prescribed as that will negatively affect the results. Your doctor will calculate an effective and safe dose for you based on the infection, as well as your body weight and age. Mind that you may need to administer up to 5 tablets each day (in severe cases).
- Do not exceed the dose prescribed, that will increase the risk of side effects.
- Do not stop treatment until getting approval from your doctor (even if you believe the infection is over, or you feel some kind of minor side effects).
- If your doctor recommends you take a stool test after treatment, do it. Otherwise, there is a risk that some parasites will survive and keep on intoxicating your organism.
- Never try to split or break tablets ― you will not manage to get equal parts in such a way. The results of your treatment will be compromised. For your convenience, there are three dosage forms available at pharmacies, thus, you will easily find the most suitable option.
- To get the best effect from this treatment, administer it on an empty stomach (or at least 2 hours after your last meal) and wash it down with a full glass of water. Do not mix it with food, otherwise, there is a risk it will be absorbed partially only.
- If the course recommended suggests more than one dose, take the drug at the same time each day.
- In the case of onchocerciasis, the treatment may last for a few years. The point is that this drug is effective against baby worms only, but it cannot kill adult ones. That is why you will have to take it until all the adult parasites die (some of them can survive for about 10 years). Luckily, there is no need to take the drug for such a long term daily. Instead, you will pass the course every 6 months.
- There is a risk of interaction between Ivermectin and Warfarin. The level of the second drug in the blood may increase, which may provoke bleeding. Sure, you must discuss such a risk with your doctor so that he alters your dose.
Side Effects and How to Avoid Them
Important! In most cases, when Ivermectin is used to fight stomach worms, there are no adverse reactions. They are more frequent in the case of river blindness.
The most common adverse reactions:
- skin itching;
- skin rash;
- skin fever.
Note that these can be signs of a severe allergic reaction, which is why you must report them to a doctor without a delay.
Other frequent side effects:
- tenderness and/or swelling of lymph nodes in the groin or armpit;
- pains in the joints.
More rare side effects:
- swelling or pains in other lymph nodes;
- swelling or another discomfort in the eyes area.
How to minimize risks?
- Buy and take Ivermectin on prescription only.
- Do not change the regimen without discussing that with your doctor.
- Pass all the tests recommended.
- Report any side effects to your doctor.
- Never start a repeated course without discussing that with your doctor.
- Do not share your pills with anyone (even if that person has the same symptoms as you).
Attention! In most situations, you will have to proceed with the treatment if the side effects are bearable and undangerous. The point is that most of them are caused by parasites themselves, not the drug. Furthermore, the infection itself poses a bigger threat compared to most minor side effects.