Praziquantel

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Published on 12/08/2020 . 5 mins read
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Uses

What is praziquantel used for?

Praziquantel is a medication under the class of drugs known as antihelminthics. Antihelminthics are drugs that eliminate parasites such as tapeworms, pinworms, roundworms, and several others. Praziquantel is the drug of choice for treating schistosomiasis.

Schistosomiasis is also known as bilharzia or “snail fever.” The most common species of this blood fluke that infects humans are Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, and S. japonicum. The worms initially infect fresh-water snails and eventually release free-swimming larva (cercariae) that can enter a human host through broken skin.

Praziquantel is primarily indicated to treat the following:

  • Schistosomiasis
  • Clonorchiasis
  • Intestinal fluke infections
  • Lung fluke infections
  • Opistochiasis

How should I take Praziquantel?

Praziquantel is available as an oral suspension and tablet. The oral suspension may need to be reconstituted with water prior to administration. The oral tablet should be swallowed whole without crushing, chewing, or dissolving it in liquid. Both forms should be taken with meals.

How do I store praziquantel?

This drug should be stored at room temperature (<30°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Do not freeze this product. Always check the label before using this product. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.

Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment. Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal.

Precautions & Warnings

What should I know before using praziquantel?

Before using this medication, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to praziquantel
  • You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances
  • You are taking other medications
  • You have underlying health conditions

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

This drug is a pregnancy category B drug. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies using praziquantel in pregnant women, however, animal studies show no risk to the fetus. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

This drug is excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side Effects

What side effects can occur when using praziquantel?

All drugs have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use. Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

Potential side effects while using this drug include:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Malaise
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Rash or itchiness
  • Muscle pain

Rare side effects may include:

  • Seizures
  • Eosinophilia
  • Elevated liver enzymes

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you experience serious adverse reactions, you must stop taking the drug immediately. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with praziquantel?

This drug may interact with other medications. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

Known drugs and their interactions with medication include:

  • Rifampicin
    • CYP enzyme inducer that may decrease plasma levels of praziquantel, rendering it less effective.
    • Potentially fatal interaction.
  • Carbamazepine
    • CYP enzyme inducer that may decrease plasma levels of praziquantel, rendering it less effective.
  • Dexamethasone
    • CYP enzyme inducer that may decrease plasma levels of praziquantel, rendering it less effective.
  • Phenobarbital
    • CYP enzyme inducer that may decrease plasma levels of praziquantel, rendering it less effective.
  • Phenytoin
    • CYP enzyme inducer that may decrease plasma levels of praziquantel, rendering it less effective.
  • Cimetidine
    • CYP enzyme inhibitor that may increase plasma levels of praziquantel, increasing the risk of toxicity.
  • Erythromycin
    • CYP enzyme inhibitor that may increase plasma levels of praziquantel, increasing the risk of toxicity.
  • Itraconazole
    • CYP enzyme inhibitor that may increase plasma levels of praziquantel, increasing the risk of toxicity.
  • Ketoconazole
    • CYP enzyme inhibitor that may increase plasma levels of praziquantel, increasing the risk of toxicity.

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with praziquantel?

This drug should be taken with food to prevent gastrointestinal discomfort. Avoid eating or drinking grapefruit-containing products while taking this drug as it can affect the plasma levels of praziquantel.

Praziquantel may cause excessive drowsiness if it is taken together with alcohol. It is best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with praziquantel?

This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:

  • Heart problems
  • Cerebral cysticercosis
  • History of epilepsy
  • Liver impairment

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using praziquantel.

What is the dose of praziquantel for an adult?

To treat schistosomiasis

  • Take 20 mg/kg for 3 doses every 4 to 6 hours, or 40-60 mg/kg as a single dose.

To treat clonorchiasis, intestinal fluke infections, lung fluke infections, opisthorchiasis

  • Take 25 mg/kg 3 times a day every 4 to 6 hours for 1 to 2 days, or 40 mg/kg as a single dose.

What is the dose of praziquantel for a child?

For children 4 years and above, administer the same dose as an adult. The dose for children under 4 years has not been established. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist for any necessary dose adjustments or alternatives.

How is praziquantel available?

This drug is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:

  • Biltricide 600 mg tablet
  • Endure Medical Praziquantel 600 mg tablet
  • Fluxide 600 mg/5 mL suspension

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of this drug, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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