What Is Scabies Lotion?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Scabies lotion is a type of medication used to treat scabies, a contagious, itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei. In addition to scabies lotion, other forms of treatment for this condition include topical creams and oral medication. Scabies lotion is similar to scabies cream in its application and usage. In general, the affected person should apply either type of medication to the entire body, sometimes even the face and scalp. The body should be clean before the application of scabies lotion or cream takes place, and the medication should be left on the body for awhile before it is washed off.

Available only with a prescription, some topical scabies medications contain certain chemicals that kill the mites responsible for the condition. Permethrin and lindane are two such chemicals. There are also other medications that are nonchemical, though, and they are crotamiton, which is another topical medication, and ivermectin, an oral medication. It appears that permethrin is the primary chemical used for scabies treatment, with the other medications generally prescribed only when there is a negative or absent reaction to permethrin.


In general, permethrin is a safe cream for anyone with scabies to use, including adults, children and pregnant or nursing women. The application procedure is typically two applications a week apart. This means the affected person applies the cream onto his skin, leaves it on for a certain period of time according to his prescription instructions, and then washes it off. He repeats the application a week later. Of course, if the affected person is a baby or child, an adult would have to apply the cream for him.

Lindane comes in cream, lotion or shampoo form, and unlike permethrin, it is not safe for use by everyone. Children who are 2-years-old or younger, the elderly and pregnant or nursing women should not use medication containing this chemical. Also, those with skin sores, with weak immune systems or who weigh 110 pounds (about 49.89 kg) or less should not use this medication either. The application instructions for lindane are basically the same as those for permethrin. Lindane is usually a secondary treatment option, though, as when skin absorbs the chemical, it can cause the affected person to have seizures.

A non-chemical, topical treatment option for scabies is medication that contains crotamiton. The application for this medication differs from permethrin and lindane. Instead of two applications separated by a week’s time, the affected person applies crotamiton once daily for two to five days. There are documented cases of failure with this particular treatment option, though.

In the event that scabies lotion or cream is not a suitable treatment option for an affected person, a doctor might instead prescribe oral medication. Ivermection is an antiparasitic, oral medication that comes in pill form and is usually for those who have difficult cases of scabies, as well as those who do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, topical medication. In comparison to permethrin, though, ivermectin does hold a higher risk of dangerous side effects. Also, ivermectin does not appear to be as effective in treating the condition as permethrin.


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