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: MadScabies, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 13

I have been put through the ringer for nearly 5 years and numerous visits to the dermatologist who kept telling me I had some kind of an allergy. I recently decided to find a new family doctor and am I so glad I did; he discovered I had scabies all this time which turned into severe scabies and very severe yeast infection from all the scratching. It started out as a very itchy rash with red sores on my sides and along the waistline with bad genital itching. So I set up date to see a dermatologist. First visit I was told it was herpes. I didn't believe that! Returned visit a male doctor checked, did a biopsy test which showed negative unknown, so the doctor told me I needed allergy patch testing, which took several visits. All the while I continued suffering itching severely, and unable to sleep. Patch test was negative but the doctor still told me it must be allergy to something around my home. He prescribed methotrexate low dose which tapered down the rash but it never went away. I took the medicine over a year until finally it stopped working at all and I had flare up over my entire body with red rashes and extreme itching, and open sores all over. I tried clobetasol creams, antihistamines, Aveeno soaps and bath soaks, changed to fragrance free All laundry soap, stopped using deodorants and colognes, tried eczema creams, Caladryl. I mean I tried everything on the shelf and nothing worked, it just kept getting worse and worse. My legs became scarred just from all the scratching and sores, yet I returned to the dermatologist for help again. I was seen and told it's an allergy and that clobetasol is the best cream they have. I told her it's not working and I'm getting these sores up the back of my neck and head now into my hair literally from my feet up to my head. The itching is not just an itch, I've tried to explain this that you really want to take a wire brush and scratch the heck out of it. Any kind of heat intensifies the itch extremely bad. I mean I have suffered a long time with this mess and was stunned when my family doctor prescribed permethrin. You take a clean, bath get out and totally dry your skin off then spread this cream, leave it on overnight, then shower the next day. I changed all linens and washed with a little borax in the clothes and linens. I sprayed our mattress down with Rid, put my shoes enclosed in an air tight bag for 3 days after spraying bug spray in it too. All along the whole time it's been scabies once I treated my body with the permethrin I started feeling better the next day but still had to do another treatment 1 week later to make sure it's gone.

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Comment from: bentley, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 19

I have scabies and have been using Dettol and tea tree oil. I put 2 caps of Dettol in my bath 2 times a day and put tea tree oil on of a night and it works. The Dettol cleans the skin and the tea tree oil helps to sooth my skin at night and during the day.

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