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Alinia or generic Nitazoxanide is a prescription medication used to treat diarrhea—specifically, diarrhea provoked by Giardia lamblia or Cryptosporidium parvum. Those are scientific names for different types of protozoa, or teeny-tiny, one-celled organisms. Because Alinia targets these protozoa, it is part of a category of medicines dubbed "antiprotozoals."
The type of diarrhea treated by Nitazoxanide is sometimes referred to as "traveler's diarrhea" because it's often contracted while traveling in developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and/or the Middle East. Travelers or anyone else suffering from an infection of Giardia lamblia or Cryptosporidium parvum may be prescribed Alinia.
It's thought that Nitazoxanide helps treat the diarrhea caused by these protozoal infections by disrupting the protozoal cells' ability to generate energy. This impairs the parasites' ability to reproduce and survive, thereby combating their negative effects.
Nitazoxanide, which is a synthetic antiprotozoal agent, may be prescribed in tablet or liquid form. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
As noted above, Nitazoxanide drug is used to treat a condition often referred to as "traveler's diarrhea." This is a broad term referring to cases of diarrhea caused by two particular protozoa: namely, Giardia lamblia ("Giardia" for short) or Cryptosporidium parvum ("Crypto" for short). Alinia has not been shown effective for the treatment of Crypto in patients with HIV.
Crypto often lurks in recreational and/or drinking water and is resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants. Giardia lamblia is commonly found in food, soil, water, and/or on surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. (For this reason, gardeners sometimes contract Giardia because an infected animal defecated in their garden.)
The symptoms of having contracted these parasites may vary widely. Some people won't exhibit symptoms, while others may experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea or watery stool, and/or nausea. These symptoms may show up anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months after being infected. In some cases, the symptoms will resolve on their own; in others, people suffering from traveler's diarrhea will need to seek medical assistance and utilize prescription medications such as Nitazoxanide.
Prior to using Nitazoxanide, take the following into account:
As with any substance, introducing Alinia into your body has the potential to cause side effects. Possible Nitazoxanide side effects include:
If you experience these or any other side effects, promptly consult a medical professional.