Why is this medication prescribed?
Praziquantel is used to treat schistosoma (infection with a type of worm that lives in the bloodstream) and liver fluke (infection with a type of worm that lives in or near the liver). Praziquantel is in a class of medications called anthelmintics. It works by killing the worms.
How should this medicine be used?
Praziquantel comes as a tablet to take by mouth with water and a meal. It is usually taken for one day as three doses; each dose spaced 4 to 6 hours apart. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take praziquantel exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Praziquantel tablets are marked with 3 notches so that they can easily be split. If your doctor has told you to take only part of a tablet, use your thumbnail to press down on the correct notch and separate the number of parts needed for your dose.
Swallow the tablets or tablet parts whole as soon as you put them into your mouth. Do not chew them, crush them, or hold them in your mouth. The bitter taste of the tablets may cause you to gag or vomit if you keep the tablets in your mouth before swallowing.
Other uses for this medicine
Praziquantel is also sometimes used to treat certain other worm infestations, including tapeworm (a type of worm that may attach to the wall of the intestine or may move to different parts of the body). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using praziquantel to treat your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking praziquantel,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to praziquantel, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in praziquantel tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you are taking rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take praziquantel if you are taking this medication. Your doctor will probably tell you to stop taking rifampin four weeks before beginning treatment with praziquantel, and will tell you to start taking rifampin again one day after finishing treatment with praziquantel.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: chloroquine (Aralen); cimetidine (Tagamet); dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexpak); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); itraconazole (Sporanox); ketoconazole (Nizoral); and certain medications for seizures such as phenytoin (Dilantin), phenobarbital, and carbamazepine (Equetro, Tegretol). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with praziquantel, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you have ocular cysticercosis (infestation with a type of tapeworm that forms cysts in the eyes). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take praziquantel.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures; cysticercosis nodules (bumps) just under your skin; or kidney, liver,or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking praziquantel, call your doctor.
- do not breastfeed on the day you take praziquantel and for 72 hours (3 days) after you take praziquantel.
- you should know that praziquantel may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery on the day you take praziquantel and the day after you take praziquantel.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Ask your doctor what you should do if you miss a dose of praziquantel.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Praziquantel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- not feeling well
- stomach pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience the following symptom, call your doctor right away:
Praziquantel may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the praziquantel, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.