Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Scabies treatment involves eliminating the infestation with medications. Several creams and lotions are available. You usually apply the medication over all your body, from your neck down, and leave the medication on for at least eight hours. A second treatment is needed if new burrows and rash appear.

Because scabies spreads so easily, your doctor may recommend treatment for all family members and other close contacts, even if they show no signs of scabies infestation.

Medications commonly prescribed for scabies include:

  • Permethrin 5 percent (Elimite). Your doctor may recommend that you apply this cream — which contains chemicals that kill scabies mites and their eggs — twice, with a week or so between each application. Permethrin is generally considered safe for children and adults of all ages, including women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Lindane. This medication — also a chemical treatment — is available as a cream, lotion and shampoo. This medication isn't safe for children younger than age 2 years, women who are pregnant or nursing, or people with weakened immune systems.
  • Crotamiton (Eurax). This nonchemical medication is applied once a day for two to five days. Your doctor may recommend it if your baby has scabies.

Although these medications kill the mites promptly, you may find that the itching doesn't stop entirely for several weeks.

Doctors sometimes prescribe the oral medication ivermectin (Stromectol) for people with altered immune systems, for people who have crusted scabies, or for people who don't respond to the prescription lotions and creams.

Jul. 24, 2012