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Medicines for Scabies

Introduction

Scabies is a contagious skin infection that is caused by a type of mite.

Mites are insect-like creatures that burrow, or tunnel, under the outer layer of skin. Mites lay eggs under the skin and feed themselves on the blood from their victims.

Scabies is spread by direct skin-to-skin or close body contact.

All ages are vulnerable.

Scabies that infected on animal are not able to live on human hosts although they may cause rashes.

Treatment

Clean the infected person’s clothing and bed sheets need to be cleaned with hot water.

Place the item that cannot be washed and dried in a sealed plastic bag and stored for a minimum of seven days to allow time for the mites and eggs to die.

Vacuum the furniture and bedding.

Treat all family members and individuals that had intimate contacts at the same time as the infected person.

Treatment for scabies consists of applying an insecticidal cream or lotion such as:

  1. Permethrin 5%

How to use?

    • Applied to the whole body including the scalp, neck, face and ears. Particular attention should be paid to the webs of the fingers and toes and lotion brushed under the ends of nails. A small brush may help with application
    • Wash off after twenty-four hours.
    • It is now recommended that permethrin should be applied twice, one week apart.
    • Should reapply to the hands if the medication is washed.

** should not be used on child less than two months olds.

Special precaution

    • Avoid contact with eye
    • Do not use on broken or secondarily infected skin
    • Seek medical supervision for children age two months to two years

 

  1. Malathion 0.5% lotion

How to use?

    • Applied to the whole body including the scalp, neck, face and ears. Particular attention should be paid to the webs of the fingers and toes and lotion brushed under the ends of nails. A small brush may help with application
    • Wash off after twenty-four hours.
    • It is now recommended that malathion should be applied twice, one week apart.
    • Should reapply to the hands if the medication is washed.

Special precaution

    • Simultaneous use of lindane and other creams
    • Avoid eye contact
    • Do not use on broken or secondarily infected skin
    • Seek medical supervision for children under 6 months

 

  1. Gamma benzene hexachloride (or lindane)

How to use?

    • Apply a thin layer of lotion and massage it on skin to the entire body from neck to the toes.
    • Bathe and remove the drug after 8 to 24 hours.

Contraindication

    • Pregnant mother and premature baby
    • Breast feeding mother
    • Patient with a history of epilepsy
    • People with a low body weight

Special precaution

    • Simultaneous use of lindane and other creams
    • Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes
    • Excoriated skin
    • Do not apply lotion immediately after a hot, soapy bath.

 

  1. Benzyl Benzoate lotion (EBB)

How to use?

    • Apply over the whole body.
    • Repeat without bathing on the following day.
    • Wash off 24 hours later.
    • Should reapply to the hands if the medication is washed.
    • A third application may be required in some cases.

 

Special Consideration

  1. Itching
    • A person is no longer contagious once treatment has been completed although itching may persist for several weeks.
    • Treatment for itch may be required. Topical steroid may help to reduce itch and inflammation.
    • Oral administration of a sedating antihistamine at night may also be useful.
    • However, persistent symptoms suggest that scabies eradication was not successful.

Prevention

Quick identification and treatment is very important to control further spread of scabies.

Infected persons should be excluded from school or work until the day after treatment.

It is possible to get scabies again. So, it is extremely important to follow instructions exactly for treatment and cleaning the contaminated objects.

 

Last reviewed

:

20 March 2015

Writer

:

Yam Chiew Fong

Reviewer

:

Rabi’ah bt. Mamat 

Mohd Dziehan bin Mustapa