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Deworming Drugs For Children: What's Safe?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 25, 2023

Deworming Drugs For Children: What's Safe?

Using deworming drugs is a common way recommended in the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by helminths, or parasitic worms. However, many people still have questions about the use of this group of drugs.

Worms are parasites that invade the human body. They have the ability to live and absorb nutrients from the host, usually residing in the intestinal tract. Most worm infestations occur in humid tropics or developing countries because food and drinking water sources are easily contaminated.

In Southeast Asia, the most common intestinal worms in humans are roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms/beaks. In children, pinworm infections are common. People infested with worms often experience digestive symptoms, abdominal pain, anemia, and malnutrition. This condition can cause many other serious health problems and complications.

Therefore, the Ministry of Health recommends that people should consciously take deworming drugs periodically to protect the health of themselves and their families.


What types of dewormers are included? These include drugs containing active ingredients that kill parasitic worms and flukes in the intestinal tract. The mechanism of action of these drugs is usually to prevent the worms from using a nutrient source that eventually kills or paralyzes them. Eg:

Mebendazole, albendazole, thiabendazole prevent worms from absorbing sugars necessary for survival and development. However, these drugs only kill the adult worms, not the eggs.

Praziquantel, pyratel, ivermectin paralyze intestinal helminths. As a result, the body easily eliminates these parasites from the intestines through feces.

Are These Safe?

According to the guidelines for intestinal deworming in the community of the Ministry of Health, two deworming drugs are used, albendazole or mebendazole. Accordingly, the subjects used are from 12 months of age and older and are contraindicated for:

  • People with acute illness, (abdominal symptoms, or fever above 38ºC)
  • People who are suffering from some chronic diseases such as kidney failure, heart failure, liver failure, bronchial asthma
  • People with a history of allergy to drug ingredients
  • Pregnant women in the first 3 months
  • lactating women
  • children under 12 months old

The recommended deworming for each target group

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines for prophylactic treatment with deworming drugs for each group of subjects as follows

Using dewormer for children

Using a single dose of albendazole or mebendazole 1–2 times a year (depending on the endemic area) is recommended for all infants and children.

Dosage is as follows:

  • Children from 12 months to under 24 months: deworming drugs are not readily recommended unless specifically advised by the doctor. 
  • Children 24 months and older: albendazole 400mg or mebendazole 500mg, single dose
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    Frequently asked questions

    When should I take the dewormer to get the best results?

    Today’s dewormers do not need to be taken after fasting or used as an enema (laxative) as in the past. You can take the medicine at any time of the day after eating, it is best to take it 2 hours after dinner

    For young children, you should crush the tablet and mix it with water for the child to drink. To increase the effectiveness, you should also chew the tablet before taking it with water. Of course, there are liquid (suspension) preparations, too.  After taking the medicine, you can still eat and drink normally. 

    How long does it take to take deworming pills?

    Once taken, the medicine will begin to be absorbed and take effect immediately, but it may take a few days to kill all the worms. In case you are prescribed by a doctor for deworming, use the correct dose and time according to the instructions.

    Albendazole and mebendazole do not kill worm eggs, so you are still at risk of reinfection or passing it on to others. Therefore, to ensure effective deworming and prevent a recurrence, you should take an additional dose of the drug after 2 weeks

    Does taking deworming pills take out the worms?

    Normally, after taking the medicine for a few hours or a few days, you will feel the urge to defecate to expel the worms in the stool. Previous anthelmintics remove the worm carcasses or intact worms, so you can see the worms in the stool. Today, new drugs all work to make the worms dissolve in the feces, so you will no longer experience it after taking deworming drugs

    What are the side effects of dewormers?

    Any drug can cause unwanted side effects and dewormers are no exception. Although these drugs are relatively safe at recommended doses, some commonly reported side effects include:

    Stomach discomfort such as increased spasms

    • Flatulence
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea

    These are not all side effects that can be experienced with the drug and not everyone experiences the same reactions. For more specific information, read the instructions for the specific dewormer to be used. If you experience any unwanted effects, see your doctor.

    Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children, click here


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

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 25, 2023

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