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Anthelmintics or antihelminthics are drugs that expel parasitic worms (helminths) from the body, by either stunning or killing them. They may also be called vermifuges (stunning) or vermicides (killing).




  • 1 Pharmaceutical classes
  • 2 Natural antihelmintics
  • 3 Anthelmintic resistance


    Pharmaceutical classes

    • Benzimidazoles:
    • Albendazole – effective against threadworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms
    • Mebendazole – effective against pinworms, roundworms and hookworms
    • Thiabendazole – effective against roundworms, hookworms
    • Fenbendazole – effective against gastrointestinal parasites
    • Triclabendazole – effective against liver flukes
    • Flubendazole – effective against most intestinal parasites
    • Abamectin – effective against most common intestinal worms, except tapeworms, for which praziquantel is commonly used in conjunction with abamectin
    • Diethylcarbamazine – effective against Wuchereria bancroftiBrugia malayiBrugia timori, tropical pulmonary eosinophilia, loiasis
    • Niclosamide – effective against tapeworms
    • Ivermectin – effective against most common intestinal worms (except tapeworms)
    • Suramin
    • Pyrantel pamoate – effective against most nematode infections
    • Levamisole
    • Praziquantel – effective against cestodes, some trematodes
    • Octadepsipeptides (e.g.: Emodepside) – effective against a variety of gastrointestinal helminths
    • Aminoacetonitrile derivatives (e.g.: Monepantel): effective against a variety of gastrointestinal helminths including those resistant to the other drug classes.

    Natural antihelmintics

    Examples of naturally occurring anthelmintics include:

    • Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum & Nicotiana rustica)
    • Moringa oleifera (Moringaceae)
    • Neem (Azadirachta indica)
    • Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
    • wormwood (Artemisia absynthium)
    • clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
    • tansy tea (Tanacetum vulgare)
    • Hagenia (Hagenia abyssinica)
    • Garlic (Allium sativum)
    • Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
    • Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
    • kalonji (Nigella sativa) seeds
    • male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
    • Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) 
    • Honey mixed with water and vinegar was also used as a vermifuge.
    • Plumeria (P. acutifolia or P. rubra) in Brazilian folk medicine.
    • Peganum harmala
    • Banisteriopsis caapi
    • genistein (from soy and other legumes)
    • Papaya

    Anthelmintic resistance

    The ability of worms to survive treatments that are generally effective at the recommended dose rate is considered a major threat to the future control of worm parasites of small ruminants and horses.

    The clinical definition of resistance is a 95% or less reduction in a "Fecal Egg Count" test.

    Treatment with an antihelminthic drug kills worms whose phenotype renders them susceptible to the drug. Worms that are resistant survive and pass on their "resistance" genes. Resistant worms accumulate and finally treatment failure occurs. See drug resistance.

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