Mebendazole for the Treatment of Pinworms

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Mebendazole for the Treatment of Pinworms


Generic Name

Mebendazole is available by prescription only. It is a chewable tablet given in two doses about 2 weeks apart. The second treatment is needed to kill any pinworms that have hatched after the first treatment.

How It Works

Mebendazole kills both immature worms and adult pinworms over a period of 2 to 3 days. It does not kill pinworm eggs.

Why It Is Used

Mebendazole is used to treat pinworm infections. It may also be used when infection persists after using pyrantel pamoate (a non-prescription medicine).

Mebendazole should not be taken by pregnant women, breast-feeding women, or children younger than 2 years of age.

How Well It Works

Mebendazole is highly effective and cures pinworm infections more than 90% of the time.1

Side Effects

Side effects are rare but may include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.

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

What To Think About

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

Pregnant women and breast-feeding women should not take mebendazole without first consulting a doctor.

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



  1. Dent AE, Kazura JW (2007). Enterobiasis (Enterobius vermicularis). In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed., pp. 1500–1501. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.


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

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