Permethrin (Elimite) Cream
Permethrin 5% cream is a topical scabicidal agent for the treatment of infestation with Sarcoptes scabiei (scabies). It is available in an off-white, vanishing cream base. Each gram of 5% cream contains permethrin 50 milligrammes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Social Health Association consider a topical 5% permethrin to be one of most effective treatments for scabies.
Permethrin cream is considered safe in children and infants as young as 2 months old1. This scabicidal agent is highly effective, minimally absorbed, and minimally toxic.
How does Permethrin work for scabies?
Permethrin, a pyrethroid, is active against a broad range of pests including lice, ticks, fleas, scabies mites, and other arthropods. It works by paralyzing and killing the mites and their eggs.
Permethrin acts on the nerve cell membrane to disrupt the sodium channel current by which the polarization of the membrane is regulated. Delayed repolarization and paralysis leads to the death of the pests.
Permethrin is more effective than crotamiton (Eurax), lindane, and ivermectin2.
How to apply Permethrin?
A single application of permethrin 5% cures most scabies infestations. Itch decreases within 24 hours, though sometimes itching persists for up to several weeks after treatment. It means that the body is still reacting to the dead mites and their feces.
How many times to apply Permethrin?
One application is usually sufficient to get rid of scabies. Permethrin cures about 90% cases of scabies after one application3. A second application is often recommended one week later to assure complete eradication.
Permethrin is suitable for adults and children older than 2 months of age. Sulfur (7%) is a safe alternative for young infants.
Last updated: February, 2015
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