Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home
For questions about DPDx, contact us
DPDx

DPDx is an education resource designed for health professionals and laboratory scientists. For an overview including prevention and control visit www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies.

Scabies

[Sarcoptes scabiei]

Treatment Information

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.

* Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Public Health Service or by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Back to Top


This information is provided as an informational resource for licensed health care providers as guidance only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional judgment.

 
For questions about DPDx, contact us
  • Page last reviewed November 29, 2013
  • Page last updated November 29, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health - Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
  • Notice: Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS, CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO