J Korean Med Assoc.  2018 Mar;61(3):198-204. 10.5124/jkma.2018.61.3.198.

Is it necessary to take anthelmintics every year in Korea?

  • 1Department of Parasitology and Institute of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea. shuh@hallym.ac.kr


Is it necessary to intake anthelmintics every year in Korea? To answer to this question, the recent nation-wide egg positive rate of the intestinal nematodes in Korea was presented. The anthelminthics which are purchasable without physician's prescription were also introduced with their pharmacological reaction and indication. The egg positive rate of Ascaris lumbricoides in 2012 was 0.025%. Those of Trichuris trichiura and Enterobius vermicularis were 0.27% and 0.004%, respectively. In 2018, purchasable anthelmintics without physician's prescription in Korea were albendazole and flubendazole only. Those two anthelmintics were derivatives of benzimidazole that may cause some side effects such as hepatitis, increase of hepatic enzymes, granulocytopenia, or pancytopenia. These anthelmintics showed excellent effect to ascariasis; while, they are not sufficient to treat trichuriaiss. For treatment of enterobiasis, repeated taking 3 times with 3 weeks interval and mass treatment of the family of egg positive person are required. In conclusion, it is not necessary to take anthelmintics every year without specific diagnosis because of negligible egg positive rate of intestinal nematodes and complicated therapeutic module for enterobiasis. There was no specific symptom of ascariasis or trchuriasis if worm burden is not high. The common symptoms of enterobiasis were pain or itching at the perianal area, sleep difficulty, or diarrhea. If intestinal nematode infection is suspected, stool examination or perianal swab should be done before prescribing anthelmintics.


Ascaris lumbricoides; Albendazole; Enterobius; Flubendazole; Trichuris trichiura
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