Scabies - Effective Treatments

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What kinds of treatments have been effective for your scabies?

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What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation?

Curing scabies is rather easy with the administration of prescription scabicide drugs. There are no approved over-the-counter preparations that have been proved to be effective in eliminating scabies. The following steps should be included in the treatment of scabies:

  1. Apply a mite-killer like permethrin (Elimite). These creams are applied from the neck down, left on overnight, then washed off. This application is usually repeated in seven days. Permethrin is approved for use in people 2 months of age and older.
  2. An alternative treatment is 1 ounce of a 1% lotion or 30 grams of cream of lindane, applied from the neck down and washed off after approximately eight hours. Since lindane can cause seizures when it is absorbed through the skin, it should not be used if skin is significantly irritated or wet, such as with extensive skin disease, rash, or after a bath. As an additional precaution, lindane should not be used in pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, people with skin sores at the site of the application, children younger than 2 years of age, or people who weigh less than 110 pounds. Lindane is not a first-line treatment and is only recommended if patients cannot tolerate other therapies or if other therapies have not been effective.
  3. Ivermectin, an oral medication, is an antiparasitic medication that has also been shown to be an effective scabicide, although it is not FDA-approved for this use. The CDC recommends taking this drug at a dosage of 200 micrograms per kilogram body weight as a single dose, followed by a repeat dose two weeks later. Although taking a drug by mouth is more convenient than application of the cream, ivermectin has a greater risk of toxic side effects than permethrin and has not been shown to be superior to permethrin in eradicating scabies. It is typically used only when topical medications have failed or when the patient cannot tolerate them.
  4. Crotamiton lotion 10% and cream 10% (Eurax, Crotan) is another drug that has been approved for the treatment of scabies in adults, but it is not approved for use in children. However, treatment failures have been documented with the use of crotamiton.
  5. Sulfur in petrolatum applied as a cream or ointment is one of the earliest known treatments for scabies. It has not been approved by the FDA for this use, and sulfur should only be used when permethrin, lindane, or ivermectin cannot be tolerated. However, sulfur is safe for use in pregnant women and infants.
  6. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can be useful in helping provide relief from itching. Sometimes, a short course of topical or oral steroids is prescribed to help control the itching.
  7. Wash linens and bedclothes in hot water. Because mites don't live long away from the body, it is not necessary to dry-clean the whole wardrobe, spray furniture and rugs, and so forth.
  8. Treat sexual contacts or relevant family members (who either have either symptoms or have the kind of relationship that makes transmission likely).

Just as the itch of scabies takes a while to reach a crescendo, it takes a few days to subside after treatment. After a week or two, relief is dramatic. If that doesn't happen, the diagnosis of scabies must be questioned.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Dorothy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

My son brought scabies mites home not knowing how he picked them up. He was misdiagnosed by two doctors who gave him itching crme and antibiotic which made it worse. He scratched all the bumps until it spread to his entire body, including face and scalp. He has used one dose of the mite crme which was prescribed by a doctor after I did so much research and diagnosed it as mites. The crme worked a little, he will do the second dose this week, we also used every essential oil, sulfur lotion, and Nu-Stock (diluted) which worked well. These products seem to work but very slowly. I had witch hazel at home and tried it and immediately the mites came to the top of the skin and were being killed and wiped away with the pad. I picked this up also from treating him and the witch hazel made me feel creepy to see the black spots on the pad. I think we have turned the corner of getting rid of these things by using witch hazel. I added a few drops of tea tree oil to the witch hazel. This has been a nightmare to go through, getting them out of the house has been very hard. Everyone who reads this please go buy a bottle of witch hazel in the facial cleanser department of the drug store and try to find peace in fighting these horrible things.

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Comment from: Listeningandlearning, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I went through hell with the scabies. Followed doctor's orders to a T. At my wits end, I scratched all of the blisters open, filled the tub with hot water and added a lot of Clorox. Stayed in there adding more hot water. Blotted dry. In the morning my itch and my scabies were gone. This was suggested to me by a registered nurse. Thank goodness, it worked!

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