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Medications

Products used to kill scabies mites are called scabicides. No "over-the-counter" (non-prescription) products have been tested and approved to treat human scabies.

The following medications for the treatment of scabies are available only by prescription.

  1. Permethrin cream 5%

    Brand name product: Elimite*

    Permethrin is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of scabies in persons who are at least 2 months of age. Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid similar to naturally occurring pyrethrins which are extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Permethrin is safe and effective when used as directed. Permethrin kills the scabies mite and eggs. Permethrin is the drug of choice for the treatment of scabies. Two (or more) applications, each about a week apart, may be necessary to eliminate all mites, particularly when treating crusted (Norwegian) scabies.

  2. Crotamiton lotion 10% and Crotamiton cream 10%

    Brand name products: Eurax*; Crotan*

    Crotamiton is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of scabies in adults; it is considered safe when used as directed. Crotamiton is not FDA-approved for use in children. Frequent treatment failure has been reported with crotamiton.

  3. Lindane lotion 1%

    Brand name products: None available

    Lindane is an organochloride. Although FDA-approved for the treatment of scabies, lindane is not recommended as a first-line therapy. Overuse, misuse, or accidentally swallowing lindane can be toxic to the brain and other parts of the nervous system; its use should be restricted to patients who have failed treatment with or cannot tolerate other medications that pose less risk. Lindane should not be used to treat premature infants, persons with a seizure disorder, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, persons who have very irritated skin or sores where the lindane will be applied, infants, children, the elderly, and persons who weigh less than 110 pounds.

  4. Ivermectin

    Brand name product: Stromectol*

    Ivermectin is an oral antiparasitic agent approved for the treatment of worm infestations. Evidence suggests that oral ivermectin may be a safe and effective treatment for scabies; however, ivermectin is not FDA-approved for this use. Oral ivermectin has been reported effective in the treatment of crusted scabies; its use should be considered for patients who have failed treatment with or who cannot tolerate FDA-approved topical medications for the treatment of scabies. The dosage of ivermectin is 200 mcg/kg orally. It should be taken on an empty stomach with water. A total of two or more doses at least 7 days apart may be necessary to eliminate a scabies infestation. The safety of ivermectin in children weighing less than 15 kg and in pregnant women has not been established.

 
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  • Page last reviewed: November 2, 2010
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