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Skeletal formula of metronidazole

Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of parasitic diseases such as those caused by endoparasites such as nematodes (roundworms), cestodes (tapeworms), trematodes (flatworms), and parasitic protozoa[1] (the cause of malaria)[2] and those diseases caused by ectoparasites such as lice, fleas, mites and ticks.[3]

Antiparasitics target the parasitic agents of the infections by destroying them or inhibiting their growth.[4]Antiparasitics are one of the antimicrobial drugs which include antibiotics that target bacteria, and antifungals that target fungi. They may be administered orally, intravenously or topically.[4]

There are different types of drugs that target the different parasitic groups. The main type is that of the antihelmintics that targets all parasitic worms and these are broken down into the various subtypes such as antinematodes and anticestodes.



Ancylostoma caninum, a type of hookworm, attached to the intestinal mucosa.





Medical uses[edit]

Antiparasitics treat parasitic diseases, which impact an estimated 2 billion people.[1]


Antiparastics may be given via a variety of routes depending on the specific medication, including oral, topical, and intravenous.[4]

Drug development history[edit]

Early antiparasitics were ineffective, frequently toxic to patients, and difficult to administer due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the host and the parasite.[4]

Between 1975 and 1999 only 13 of 1,300 new drugs were antiparasitics, which raised concerns that insufficient incentives existed to drive development of new treatments for diseases that disproportionately target low-income countries. This led to new public sector and public-private partnerships (PPPs), including investment by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Between 2000 and 2005, twenty new antiparasitic agents were developed or in development. In 2005, a new antimalarial cost approximately $300 million to develop with a 50% failure rate.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kappagoda, Shanthi; Singh, Upinder; Blackburn, Brian G. (2011). "Antiparasitic Therapy". Mayo Clin Proc. 6 (86): 561–583. doi:10.4065/mcp.2011.0203. 
  2. ^ "Collaboration on the Development of Anti-Parasitic Drugs for Both Malaria and Leishmaniasis". Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Antiparasitic drugs". - cached. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "ANTIPARASITICS". Purdue University Cytology Laboratories. Purdue Research Foundation. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  5. ^ Pink, Richard; Hudson, Alan; Mouries, Marie-Annick; Bendig, Mary (September 2005). "Opportunities and Challenges in Antiparasitic Drug Discovery". Nature 4: 727–740. doi:10.1038/nrd1824.