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Pharmacy and Medications

Pregnancy and pinworms

04/05/2007

Question:

Is it perfectly safe to usy pyrantel pamoate to treat infestation of pinworms during pregnancy, and if not, what is the best way to treat it.

Answer:

Pyrantel pamoate is considered the drug of choice for the treatment of pinworm. However, it does have a U.S. FDA pregnancy category C, which is defined as:

There has not been sufficient clinical experience to establish the safety of pyrantel pamoate in general during pregnancy. Animal studies show no evidence of harm to the fetus among rats or rabbits.

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), pregnant women with pinworm infestation are considered to be a high-risk group. The WHO recommends that they be individually offered treatment in order to avoid complications from the infestation, which may include anemia (low red blood cells) and organ damage. Evaluating the risk versus the benefit, a single-dose oral treatment would be appropriate in such cases. It is always recommended that pregnant women consult their Obstetrician/Gynecologists before taking any medication to ensure their safety.

The whole family may need treatment. The following are guidelines to help prevent or reduce recontamination:

1. On the day of treatment, do the following:

2. Everyone in your household--especially those who are infected--should wash hands well after using the toilet and before touching food.

3. At least once a day, wash the anal area. Do this under a shower, if possible.

4. When using public toilet seats, cover them with clean paper first.

5. Try to keep children from scratching the anus. Have them keep their fingers away from the nose and mouth.

6. Change sheets, pillowcases, towels, and nightwear often. Machine wash them on the hottest water setting.

7. Change underwear daily.

8. Have children wear snug cotton underpants.

Submitted by Kim Furst, Pharm D Candidate, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy

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Response by:

Carmen M Hadley, RPh, CSPI
Formerly:
Clinical Instructor
College of Pharmacy
The Ohio State University