Pyrantel Pamoate for the Treatment of Pinworms

Search Knowledgebase

Pyrantel Pamoate for the Treatment of Pinworms


Generic NameBrand Name
pyrantel pamoateCombantrin

Pyrantel pamoate treats pinworm infections. The dose of pyrantel pamoate given is based on the person's weight. Two doses are usually given about 14 days apart (as long as no side effects are noted after the first dose). More than the correct dose should not be given at any time.

Pyrantel pamoate comes as a liquid or a chewable pill. Some brands come with a small measuring cup and a weight chart on the box so that you can calculate correct doses. If you have problems calculating a dose or have concerns about the medicine, talk with a pharmacist or your doctor.

How It Works

Pyrantel pamoate kills adult pinworms. It does not kill pinworm eggs.

Why It Is Used

Pyrantel pamoate is a non-prescription medicine commonly used for pinworm infections. It is taken after a definite diagnosis of pinworms has been made by either seeing the worms or doing a transparent (cellophane) tape test. It may also be used if mebendazole (a prescription medicine) is not effective.

Do not give pyrantel pamoate to pregnant women, breast-feeding women, or children younger than age 2 without first talking with a doctor.

How Well It Works

Pyrantel pamoate gets rid of pinworm infections most of the time. But reinfection with pinworms is very common.

Side Effects

Side effects of pyrantel pamoate are not very common but may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These are the most commonly seen side effects.
  • Headache, dizziness, and sleeplessness.
  • Rash.

If side effects develop after the initial dose, a second dose (normally taken in about 2 weeks) should not be taken without talking with a doctor.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

While using pyrantel pamoate, take measures to prevent reinfection and the spread of infection to others. See the Home Treatment section of the Pinworms topic.

Children younger than age 2 should only take this medicine on the advice of a doctor.

Pregnant women and breast-feeding women should not use this medicine without first consulting a doctor.

Pyrantel pamoate can be taken with food, milk, or juice, or on an empty stomach.

Because pinworm eggs can survive for 2 weeks after treatment with pyrantel pamoate, reinfection can occur. Treatment with a second dose is usually recommended.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised October 20, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.