Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Scabies treatment involves eliminating the infestation with medications. Several creams and lotions are available with a doctor's prescription. 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 will likely recommend treatment for all household members and other close contacts, even if they show no signs of scabies infestation.

Medications commonly prescribed for scabies include:

  • Permethrin cream, 5 percent (Elimite). Permethrin is a topical cream that contains chemicals that kill scabies mites and their eggs. It is generally considered safe for adults, pregnant women, and children ages 2 months and older. This medicine is not recommended for nursing mothers.
  • Lindane lotion. This medication — also a chemical treatment — is recommended only for people who can't tolerate other approved treatments, or for whom other treatments didn't work. This medication isn't safe for children younger than age 2 years, women who are pregnant or nursing, the elderly, or anyone who weighs less than 110 pounds (50 kilograms).
  • Crotamiton (Eurax). This medication is available as a cream or a lotion. It's applied once a day for two days. This medication isn't recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or nursing. Frequent treatment failure has been reported with crotamiton.
  • Ivermectin (Stromectol). Doctors may prescribe this oral medication 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. Ivermectin isn't recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing, or for children who weigh less than 33 pounds (15 kg).

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

Doctors may prescribe other topical medications, such as sulfur compounded in petrolatum, for people who don't respond to or can't use these medications.

July 07, 2015