Section II. ANTIPARASITIC AGENTS
With the potential for assignment throughout the world, soldiers are faced with
the possibility of parasitic infestations. As a pharmacy specialist, you should be familiar
with commonly used antiparasitic agents. Due to the constantly changing nature of the
field, you should obtain a good up-to-date reference on the subject; this subcourse does
not attempt to provide you with an all-inclusive and up-to-date listing of medications and
GENERAL COMMENTS PERTAINING TO ANTIPARASITE THERAPY
a. Preventive Approach. The preventive approach is the most economical and
effective approach to treating parasitic infestations. Drugs are expensive, and there are
adverse reactions and side effects associated with their use. Thus, the best approach
to treating parasitic infestation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. How
can one prevent parasitic infestation? Perhaps the key is knowledge of the life cycle of
each parasite present in a particular area. Consider infestations by hookworms.
Having bare feet in areas where hookworm infestations are prevalent certainly
increases the likelihood of such an infestation. Soldiers should be informed of the
importance of keeping on their boots.
b. Parasitic Infestations. Parasitic infestations occur throughout the world.
When you enter an area, you should be informed of which parasites are most prevalent
in that particular area. This knowledge will certainly have an impact on the drug
products you stock in your pharmacy.
c. Benefits/Txoic Effects. The prescriber must weigh potential benefits of
antiparasitic drug therapy against possible toxic effects produced by the drugs.
Antiparasitic drugs, like other classes of medications, may have adverse effects. The
person who prescribes a drug must determine if taking that drug will be more harmful
than just leaving the patient as he/she is. The patient's age and state of health affect
the prescribing of specific antiparasitic drugs.
d. Administration of Anthelmintic Agents. Oral anthelmintic agents are
generally taken with water during or after meals. If pre or post-treatment purges are
necessary (that is, to remove the worms from the gastrointestinal tract) in conjunction with
a specific drug, magnesium sulfate or sodium phosphate may be used. The usual dose
of these laxatives is 15 to 30 grams for an adult and 1 to 2 grams per 10 pounds of body
weight for children. The laxative is to be dissolved in a glass of water. The laxatives
may be taken in lemon juice (mixed with the water) to mask their intensely bitter taste.
Magnesium sulfate must not be administered to persons with impaired renal function.
Sodium phosphate may be contraindicated for patients with congestive heart failure. In
general, anthelmintics are contraindicated for pregnant women and patients who have
ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract.