Mebendazole

Sounds like 'meh-BEN-duh-zole'

Easy-to-read medicine information about mebendazole – what it is, how to take it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medication for treating worms (also called anthelmintics)
  • Vermox®
  • De-Worm®
  • Combantrin-1 with Mebendazole®

What is mebendazole?

Mebendazole is used to treat worms that live in the human bowel such as threadworms (also called pinworms), roundworms and hookworms. Mebendazole stops the worms from absorbing sugars that they need to survive. This kills the worms within a few days. Although mebendazole kills adult worms, it does not kill the eggs. To stop re-infection, wash hands well after going to the toilet, don’t bite nails or suck fingers, and treat everyone living in your household at the same time, even if they do not have any symptoms. Read more about threadworm. Mebendazole is available as tablets or liquid. It is available on prescription, or you can buy it without a prescription from your pharmacy. 

Dose

  • The dose of mebendazole depends on the type of worms being treated.
    • Threadworms: 100 mg as a single dose. Reinfection is very common so a second dose may be needed after 2 weeks.
    • Whipworms, roundworms, hookworms: 100 mg twice daily for 3 days.
  • Always take mebendazole exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take mebendazole

  • You can take mebendazole with or without food.
  • It may be chewed, swallowed whole, or crushed and mixed with food.

Precautions — before taking mebendazole

  • Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?
  • Do you have a baby or young child in the family? 

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor before you start taking mebendazole. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable or it can only be used with extra care. For example, you cannot buy mebendazole for children under 2 years old. 

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, mebendazole can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Tummy ache
  • Bloating (wind or gas)
  • Diarrhoea (runny poos)
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.

Learn more

The following links provide further information about mebendazole. Be aware that websites from other countries may have information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Mebendazole Patient Info, UK, 2017

References

  1. Mebendazole New Zealand Formulary, 2017
  2. Vermox Medsafe, New Zealand, May 2017
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 24 Aug 2017