As the name implies, antiparasitic drugs are a specific class of drugs that are used for diseases that are transmitted by parasites. This is a complex class of medicines, which under itself includes a number of subclasses of different drugs in order to cover as many diseases as possible because there are a lot of parasites and sometimes they cause diseases still unknown to therapists. These infections are usually associated with serious illnesses, which can lead to death in some cases.
A particular type of parasitic disease may be of particular danger to the health of countries, since, for example, trichomoniasis is transmitted sexually and is considered the most common non-viral infection.
It is important to note that not all patients need to take antiparasitic drugs: only in certain cases, it is necessary, since some infections can go away on their own in people with healthy immunity without the need for targeted treatment. For example, toxoplasmosis appeared in 11% of the US population in people 6 years of age and older — those who were immune-healthy kept their symptoms under control, and those who were immunocompromised experienced serious illnesses (pregnant women or patients with HIV).
Any treatment for parasitic diseases depends on the specific stages of the disease due to the infection — treatment will be different for acute or chronic Chagas disease if the patient is over 50 years of age. The search for new drugs is constantly in progress, as parasitic infections globally affect humanity from time to time, especially those groups of the planet’s population that are in poor living conditions and are at high risk of infection.
Mode of Action of Antiparasitic Drugs
Unfortunately, to date, statistics are unclear which and how many drugs against parasitic infections really effectively help get rid of harmful parasites. At their core, these drugs accumulate toxic hemes in the human body, which affects the viability of parasites. Depending on the type of agents, they affect parasites differently: anti-babesial agents target specific proteins that lead to dysfunction within the parasite itself; anti-amoebic agents have several mechanisms by which they act — preventing the production of specific proteins that parasites use to survive or trigger a reaction that gradually builds up to toxic substances within the parasite; anthelmintics also act in different ways, but the main principles of action are to destroy parasitic worms inside the body or expel them completely; ectoparasiticides have a toxic effect on the nerves of parasites and paralyse them in this way.
When are Antiparasitics Used?
When a person needs treatment with antiparasitic agents, this means that he has infections that are caused by various helminths or ectoparasites. Treatment will depend on many factors, but basically, everything is based on the type of parasite that is in the human body:
- Malaria infection — used for treatment or as part of prevention when travelling abroad
- Babesiosis infection
- Those infections that were caused by amoebas
- Chagas disease
- Sleeping sickness
- A disease that causes severe diarrhoea is giardia
Worms-parasites — helminths:
- Pinworms or enterobiasis
- Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, or those worms that are transmitted through the soil.
- Schistosomiasis infection
Parasites that live on the skin are ectoparasites:
Some of the drugs for the treatment of parasites contain warnings, the so-called black box. For example, studies have found that Flagyl and Tinidazole cause cancer in mice and rats, so they should only be taken under approved conditions. The drug Cleocin, which can be fatal, has been associated with severe colitis, so it should only be used as a last resort when less toxic agents do not work. Qualaquine can lead to liver failure as it is associated with haematological toxicity — the use of this drug should be limited and prescribed only under permissive conditions. Lindane is a neurotoxin drug and can cause seizures and even death. It is not recommended for pregnant women to take impavido, as it can harm the foetus. With any treatment, you must first consult with doctors.
Malarone or Atovaquone-Proguanil
The patient can receive this drug only by prescription, as it is used against malaria or its prevention. Such diseases are also transmitted by mosquito bites and develop as the growth of parasites in the red blood cells of the human body. The average price of such a drug would be $188.32. Learn more information about Malarone: drugs.com/malarone.html.
A fairly common drug in the United States – it is used most often when the patient has a simple or moderate degree of the disease. It is mainly prescribed for intestinal strongyloidiasis or microfilariae as for systemic diseases. But the interesting fact is that it can be used for scabies or even enterobiasis as an indirect treatment. For residents of the southern United States, this drug is especially important, because there they are struggling with the parasitic disease of onchocerciasis, which is popularly called “river blindness”.
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The principle of action is quite simple — paralysis of helmites and stimulation of hyperpolarization of neurons in the so-called postsynaptic helmites. When taking this drug with a meal that contains a high level of fat, patients may experience an increase in bioavailability. It is enough to prescribe Ivermectin once, but in more complex diseases, the drug will not cause remission, but only alleviate the symptoms. The average price of ivermectin will be about US$123.66 for 20 3mg tablets.
It is an off-patent drug that is used to prevent and in some cases also treat malaria infection that has been caused by mosquitoes from certain regions where malaria is common. It can also be used in the treatment of amoebiasis — an infection that appears due to amoebas. Aralenphosphate and Aralen make Chloroquine phosphate and can be found on average for $130.94 and can only be obtained with a prescription.
Coartem or Artemether
The next drug to treat the most common disease is malaria, which is available only by prescription to prevent a particularly dangerous infection in the blood. The principle of action is based on stopping the growth of parasites, poisoning them, and further preventing them from growing. This drug can be found on average for 162.19 US dollars.
For the treatment or subsequent prevention of a dangerous lung infection called pneumocystis pneumonia, this medicine is used and is available only by prescription. Symptoms of the disease are cough, fever, constant fatigue, and unusual shortness of breath. The well-known version of mepron is atovaquone. It can be found in pharmacies for an average of $1,381.82.
The well-known variant of Cleocin is clindamycin, which is prescribed to treat bacterial infections and costs an average of $455 for a 30-capsule strip of 300 mg each.
Kvalakin or Quinine
It is prescribed to patients with malaria. It can usually be used either together or alone with other medications. After a mosquito bite, parasites settle in human tissues, such as the liver or red blood cells. The well-known variant of this drug is called quinine. Its average market price will be $195.70 for 30 capsules of 324 mg.