If there are no symptoms or only mild symptoms, no treatment may be needed. Some infections go away on their own within a few weeks.
Medicines may be used for:
Severe symptoms or symptoms that do not go away
People who work in a daycare center or nursing home, to reduce the spread of disease
Antibiotic treatment is successful for most people. These include tinidazole, nitazoxanide or metronidazole. A change in the type of antibiotic will be tried if symptoms do not go away. Side effects from some of the medicines used to treat giardia are:
Metallic taste in the mouth
Severe reaction to alcohol
In most pregnant women, treatment should not start until after delivery. Some drugs used to treat the infection can be harmful to the unborn baby.
These complications can occur:
Dehydration (loss of water and other fluids in the body)
Malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract)
Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.