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Tapeworms in Humans

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Treatment for Tapeworms continued...

The type and length of treatment may depend on the type of tapeworm you have. Tapeworms are usually treated with a medicine taken by mouth. The most commonly used medicine for tapeworms is praziquantel (Biltricide).

These medications kill the tapeworms. The dead tapeworms then dissolve or pass from your body with bowel movements. If worms are large, you may have cramping when they pass. Your doctor will recheck stool samples at one and three months after you finish treatment. When tapeworms are confined to the intestines, appropriate treatment gets rid of them in more than 95% of people.

More serious complications of tapeworm infection are also treated with medications.

Preventing Tapeworms in Humans

Tapeworms are uncommon in the U.S. today because of laws on feeding practices and inspection of the animals we use for food.

You can further reduce your risk of tapeworms by washing your hands before and after using the toilet and by following these food safety tips.

  • Avoid raw fish and meat.
  • Thoroughly cook meat to temperatures of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for whole cuts of meat and to at least 160 degrees F for ground meat. Then let it rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating.  Safe temperatures for poultry are different. 
  • Freeze meat to -4 degrees F for at least 24 hours to kill tapeworm eggs.
  • When traveling in undeveloped countries, cook fruits and vegetables with boiled or chemically-treated water before eating.
  • Wash hands with soap and hot water before preparing or eating foods.

 

 

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on May 15, 2013
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