Pinworms (Pinworm Infection in Children and Adults, Enterobiasis)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Pinworms (Enterobiasis) Infection

What medicine treats pinworms?

Medication to get rid of pinworms include:

  • Usually, a single tablet of mebendazole (Vermox) is used for treatment. This can sometimes be repeated a week later or, if infection persists, the medication is given again three weeks later. Some clinicians recommend a treatment protocol of a drug dose every 3 weeks, 3 times, so that the person has effective drug treatment for about 9 weeks total. Vermox has been discontinued in the US, but stocks are still available in some pharmacies.
  • Another effective medication is albendazole (Albenza) but it may require other medications to reduce the inflammation of the central nervous system, a side effect of the drug. Albendazole is well tolerated with minimal side effects due to minimal systemic absorption.
  • Pyrantel pamoate (Pin-Rid, Pin-X) is available over-the-counter for pinworm after confirmation of the diagnosis by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Drugs available over-the-counter vary from country to country.  Pyrantel is the treatment of choice for pregnant women.
  • To treat pinworms affecting urinary and genital organs, combination therapy with oral mebendazole (Vermox) and ivermectin (Stromectol) for the worms as well as topical therapy for the eggs may be required.

Most pinworm infections are treated at home with the above medications. However, reinfection is fairly common. To both reduce the chances for reinfection and to help prevent others from getting pinworms, see the prevention section.

Pinworm infections can be cured; usually by 3 doses of medication, each 3 weeks apart. Individuals are encouraged to follow-up with their doctor to be sure treatment has been effective.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2016

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