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Giardia Treatment

For the PCT and AT through hikers that are starting this year, I thought I'd
post what I've learned about Giardia treatment, for those of you who will
contract it, no matter how carefull you will be with your pumps<g>. 

The Standard treatment in the USA is Flagyl (generic name metronidazole).
The regimine is 250mg, 3 times a day, for 7 days. The side effects for many
folks are quite severe and include nausia, cramping, dry mouth, vomiting,
dark urine etc.

The best treatment for Giardia is the drug Fasigyn (generic name tinidizole)
The regimin is 2 grams, once. The side effects are similar but  much less
severe, and you only take it once. The drawback is it is not FDA approved,
and is not available in the USA, but is available in Mexico, and maybe
available in Canada (any Canadians on the list to verify this?) PCT hikers
start at the Mexican Border, and a blister pack containing 4 doses (16
tablets) costs about $2 just accross the border. ATers may be able to find
this drug from some other source.

If you are worried that the FDA has not approved this drug, consider this:
The package I have was manufactured by Lakeside Pharmaceuticals in NJ.
Tinidizol has been used widely through out the world for years. According to
a Navy MD I know, the Navy & Marine Corps uses it to treat Giardia in the

If you get sick in a town, then check with a Doctor, but if you are out in
the wilderness, then self treatment may be your best chance. Be familiar
with the symptoms of Giardia, so you can tell the diference between it and
more serious conditions like accute appendicitis <g> and contact your doctor
before you go.

**CAUTION** Do not drink alcohol 24 hours before until 48 hours after taking
either of these medications.

The reference for this information (besides personal experience) is the book
"The Medical Guide for Third World Travelers" by Dessery&Robin; KW
Publications San Diego, CA 619-566-6489

BTW, I am not a doctor, (I don't even play one on TV) and I am not giving
medical advice. I'm just quoting from a reference book.............

Brick Robbins                  "go fast enough to get there,
San Diego, CA                   but slow enough to see"
brick@ix.netcom.com             ---Jimmy Buffett