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Treatment of Scabies

Lotions containing permethrin, lindane, or sulfur are commonly used in the treatment of scabies. For people with HIV or Norwegian scabies, ivermectin -- which is taken orally -- may be prescribed instead. For a person with scabies, the mites and their eggs must be destroyed, anyone who has had close contact with the patient must be treated, and reinfestation must be prevented.

Scabies Treatment: An Introduction

Successful treatment of scabies requires killing the mites (Sarcoptes scabiei), treating any family members who have been in close contact with the infected person, and preventing the scabies from returning. Both the patient and family members can receive the same treatment.

Medicines Used in the Treatment of Scabies

Several lotions can be used to treat scabies. Common ones include:
  • Lindane
  • Sulfur
  • Permethrin (Elimite® cream).
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 application of the same lotion may be necessary 7 to 10 days later.
For people with Norwegian scabies or HIV, ivermectin, which is taken orally, may be given as a treatment for scabies instead.

Other Recommendations for Scabies Treatment

It is important that all scabies eggs and mites be killed. So all clothes, bedding, and towels used by the infested person should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer two days before treatment of scabies begins. Special cleaning is not required for furniture, coats, rugs, floors, and walls.

Treating Scabies in Significant Others

Anyone who is diagnosed with scabies (as well as his or her sexual partners and those who have close, prolonged contact with the infested person) should receive scabies treatment. If your healthcare provider has instructed family members to be treated, everyone should receive it at the same time to prevent another infestation.
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