Scabies Home > Treating Scabies

Clothes, bedding, and towels used by the infested person should be washed in hot water two days before treating scabies. Lotions used to treat the infection include sulfur, permethrin, and lindane. In people with HIV (or those with Norwegian scabies), an oral medication known as ivermectin is typically used. It is possible to get a scabies infection again despite successful treatment.

An Introduction to Treating Scabies

The goals of scabies treatment are to:
  • Kill the mites (Sarcoptes scabiei)
  • Treat any family members who have been in close contact with the infested person
  • Prevent scabies from returning.
Both the affected person and family members can be treated with the same medicine.

Medications Used in Scabies Treatment

Several lotions can be used to treat scabies. Common ones include:
  • Sulfur
  • Permethrin (Elimite® cream)
  • Lindane.
Always follow the directions provided by your physician or the directions on the package insert. Apply lotion to a clean body from the neck down to the toes, and leave on overnight (eight hours). After eight hours, take a bath or shower to wash off the lotion. A second treatment of the body with the same lotion may be necessary 7 to 10 days later.
For people with HIV or Norwegian scabies, ivermectin, which is taken by mouth, may be used when treating scabies.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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