While symptomatic infections usually warrant treatment, infections with no symptoms typically don't need to be treated. In some cases, ascariasis will resolve on its own. This occurs when there are no male worms to mate with females, and the females eventually die.
Anti-parasite medications are the first line of treatment against ascariasis. The most common are:
- Albendazole (Albenza)
- Ivermectin (Stromectol)
These medications work by killing the adult worms. Each medication can be taken as a single dose. Side effects include mild abdominal pain or diarrhea.
In cases of heavy infestation, surgery may be necessary to repair damage the worms have caused and to remove worms. Intestinal obstruction or perforation, bile duct obstruction, and appendicitis are complications that may require surgery.
May. 25, 2012
- Leder K, et al. Ascariasis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Weller PF, et al. Pulmonary manifestations of ascariasis. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- BBB -— Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodborneIllness/FoodborneIllnessFoodbornePathogensNaturalToxins/BadBugBook/ucm070828.htm. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Ascaris infection (Ascariasis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/ascaris/factsht_ascaris.htm. Accessed Jan. 17, 2012.
- Ascariasis. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00010-0--sc0290&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&sid=1259356096&uniqId=314473516-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00010-0--sc0290. Accessed Jan. 26, 2012.
- Dold C, et al. Ascaris and ascariasis. Microbes and Infection. 2011;13:632.