What are the Common Side Effects of Permethrin Cream?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2019
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The most common side effect of permethrin cream for scabies is intense itching that may worsen once treatment begins. Even if all the scabies mites and their eggs have died, itching, stinging, or burning may continue for up to two weeks after treatment with permethrin cream. If the symptoms continue beyond two weeks, a re-infestation of scabies may have occurred. Less common side effects of scabies creams include swelling, headache, dizziness, and abdominal pain.

Permethrin cream is generally prescribed once a person has been diagnosed with scabies, a very tiny mite that burrows under the top layer of skin and lays eggs. The condition usually provokes extreme itching that may get worse at night. Some people notice faint, crooked lines in the skin or a rash that resembles pimples. Scabies frequently inhabit areas between the toes or fingers, the wrist, elbow, or waist. In babies or young children, the face, palms, and soles of the feet might be affected.

Typically, only one application of the cream is needed. It is applied over the entire body, including the head, feet, and under fingernails and toenails. After about 14 hours, the scabies medication is washed off, and the mites and eggs should be dead. The dead mites can continue to cause itching for up to a month after the application of permethrin cream, but it generally stops within two weeks.


Scabies is spread by close contact with someone infested with the mites. Sexual contact with a contaminated person poses a high risk of infestation, as well as living with family members who have scabies. A doctor will generally treat the whole family with permethrin cream. Scabies occur throughout the world and affect people of all backgrounds and income levels. Outbreaks of scabies are commonly seen in prisons or nursing homes where groups of people live in close quarters.

A more contagious form of scabies is Norwegian scabies, often called crusted scabies. Thousands of mites can live under the skin, which may appear as a thick crust where the bugs exist. This form of scabies is also treated with permethrin cream, and can be spread by very brief contact with an infected person. It can also live for two or three days on towels, sheets, or furniture.

The presence of scabies is diagnosed from a skin scraping examined under a microscope. Sometimes one of the mites is removed and checked under magnification to determine if scabies are present. After a person becomes infected for the first time, symptoms typically appear in four to six weeks. If a person has had the mites in the past, the itching can appear sooner. Usually, no more than 15 mites infect the skin, where they can live for up to two months.

Permethrin is also used to treat fleas, mites, and ticks in animals. A mite from a pet can infect a human, but the mite cannot reproduce, and quickly dies. These mites can cause mange in animals and should be treated to prevent their spread.


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Post 1

Being hot or cozy only makes it worse. Mouthwash definitely calmed it for me and I kept pretty cold then the itching was more tolerable.

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