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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Praziquantel belongs to the class of medications called anthelminthics. It is used to treat a type of infection called schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, an infection caused by parasitic worms in the family of Schistosoma. It is also used to treat infections caused by certain liver flukes.
This medication works by killing the parasite.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
How should I use this medication?
The dose of praziquantel is based on body weight and the parasite that is being treated.
To treat schistosomiasis, the recommended dose of praziquantel is 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, taken 3 times a day, for one day.
To treat clonorchiasis and opisthorchiasis, the recommended dose of praziquantel is 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, taken 3 times a day, for one day.
For both conditions, this medication should be taken by mouth, leaving at least 4 hours, but no more than 6 hours, between doses. Swallow the tablets whole with a bit of liquid, either during or after meals. If left in the mouth, the tablets have a bitter taste that may cause gagging or vomiting.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take praziquantel if you:
- are allergic to praziquantel or any ingredients of the medication
- are treating parasite infection in the eye
- are taking the medication rifampin
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- muscle pain
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- bloody diarrhea
- hives or itchiness
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- irregular or rapid heartbeat
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Praziquantel may cause drowsiness or affect your awareness. This can affect your ability to safely drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until these effects have passed. It is advised that you avoid driving on the day you take this medication and for 24 hours after.
Heart disease: Praziquantel may cause an irregular heartbeat. If you have any heart condition, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Seizures: Praziquantel may increase the risk of seizures. If you have a history of epilepsy or medical conditions that increase the risk of seizures, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: The effects of praziquantel on a developing fetus are not known. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking praziquantel, it may affect your baby. Breast-feeding should be interrupted for the day of treatment and for 72 hours after taking the medication.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 4 years old.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between praziquantel and any of the following:
- "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- grapefruit juice
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., delavirdine, efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- St. John’s wort
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Biltricide