Ovex is the brand name for a medication that is used to treat threadworm, which causes an intense itch around the anus, especially in children under ten years old. The active ingredient in Ovex is mebendazole. Helminths (also known as threadworms) are parasitic worms that can cause gut infection. Mebendazole is an anthelmintic medicine designed to kill them. Ovex is available over-the-counter for adults and children aged two and over to treat threadworm. On prescription, mebendazole can also be used to treat other parasitic worm infections such as roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm. These infest the gut and are usually picked up from travel to certain countries.
Mebendazole kills parasitic worms by inhibiting the parasites' glucose uptake, mebendazole effectively starves them, leading to their eventual death.
When taken orally, mebendazole is absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and distributed throughout the body. It targets a wide range of parasites, including roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and pinworms. The medication disrupts the parasites' microtubules, which are essential for their cellular structure and function. This disruption impairs their ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in their expulsion from the body through normal bowel movements.
To treat threadworm, everyone living in the same household should be given a single dose of mebendazole at the same time. Ovex is available as a family pack containing either chewable tablets or an oral suspension. The chewable tablet family pack provides four single doses, and the oral suspension family pack provides single six doses. If you live alone, there is a single chewable tablet pack you can get instead. If you prefer a certain flavour, note that the chewable tablets are orange flavoured, and the oral suspension is banana flavoured. For the single dose, you should take either one tablet (which can be chewed, crushed, or swallowed whole) or 5ml liquid. If you are taking the oral suspension, make sure you shake the bottle before use to evenly disperse the medication. If reinfection is suspected, a second dose should be taken after two weeks.
Mebendazole kills threadworms in the gut, but the worms lay eggs around the anus area. These eggs can survive for up to two weeks outside the body and can fall onto clothes, underwear, bedding, carpets and be caught up in dust. Therefore, effective hygiene measures are needed to prevent reinfection due to swallowing these eggs.
As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. If you develop any bothersome side effects, stop taking the medication and speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Some potential side effects can include stomach ache, diarrhoea, bloating, and wind.
Do not take Ovex if you have previously had an allergic reaction to mebendazole or another ingredient listed in the medication. If your child is under two years old and has threadworm, speak to their doctor first.
Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Ovex if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, intolerant to certain sugars, or are taking medications called metronidazole or cimetidine.
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