permethrin topical cream (Nix Cream, Elimite)

What is permethrin-topical cream, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Permethrin is a topical cream used to treat scabies. Permethrin is a neurotoxin that works by paralyzing nerves in respiratory muscles of scabies, causing their death. The FDA approved permethrin in August 1989.

What brand names are available for permethrin-topical cream?

Elimite, Nix Cream

Is permethrin-topical cream available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for permethrin-topical cream?


What are the uses for permethrin-topical cream?

Permethrin 5% cream is prescribed for the treatment of scabies.

What are the side effects of permethrin-topical cream?

: Common side effects of permethrin are:

  • mild-to-moderate burning and stinging,
  • itching,
  • tingling,
  • rash,
  • swelling of the scalp, and
  • redness.

What is the dosage for permethrin-topical cream?

For adults and children, the usual dose is a generous amount of cream from head to feet, left on for 8 to 14 hours, then washed with soap and water. This may be repeated in 14 days if necessary.

Safe and effective use of permethrin is not established in pediatric patients younger than 2 months of age.

Which drugs or supplements interact with permethrin-topical cream?

There are no significant drug interactions with permethrin.


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Is permethrin-topical cream safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies done with permethrin to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

It is not known whether permethrin enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about permethrin-topical cream?

What preparations of permethrin-topical cream are available?

Permethrin is available as a 5% cream in 60 gram tube.

How should I keep permethrin-topical cream stored?

Permethrin cream should be stored at room temperature from 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).


Permethrin topical cream (Elimite, Nix Cream) is a medication prescribed to treat scabies. Drug interactions, side effects, warnings and precautions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to using this medication.

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Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


Elimite - Prescribing Information