What is this medicine?
PERMETHRIN (per METH rin) is used to treat head lice infestations. It acts by destroying both the lice and their eggs.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Nix Complete Lice Elimination Kit, Nix Lice Killing Creme Rinse
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- an unusual or allergic reaction to permethrin, veterinary or household insecticides, other medicines, chrysanthemums, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the product label. Do not wash hair with conditioner or a combination shampoo-conditioner immediately before applying this medicine. Follow product-specific instructions for length of application and product removal. All products should be rinsed from the hair over a sink or tub to limit skin exposure; do not use hot water. In general, do not re-wash the hair for 1 to 2 days after use.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 2 months old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
This does not apply.
What may interact with this medicine?
Interactions are not expected. Do not use any other skin products on the affected area without telling your doctor or health care professional.
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
This medicine is used as a single application treatment. If live lice are observed 7 or more days after initial application, a second treatment may be needed.
Head lice can be spread from one person to another by direct contact with clothing, hats, scarves, bedding, towels, washcloths, hairbrushes, and combs. All members of your household should be examined for head lice and should receive treatment if they are found to be infected. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor or health care professional.
To prevent reinfection or spreading of the infection, the following steps should be taken: Machine wash all clothing, bedding, towels, and washcloths in very hot water and dry them using the hot cycle of a dryer for at least 20 minutes. Clothing or bedding that cannot be washed should be dry cleaned or sealed in an airtight plastic bag for 2 weeks. Shampoo any wigs or hairpieces. You should also wash all hairbrushes and combs in very hot soapy water (above 130 degrees F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not share your hairbrushes or combs with other people. Wash all toys in very hot water (above 130 degrees F) for 5 to 10 minutes or seal in an airtight plastic bag for 2 weeks. Also, clean the house or room by vacuuming furniture, rugs, and floors.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- redness or mild swelling of the scalp
- stinging or burning
- tingling sensation
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature away from heat and direct light. Do not refrigerate or freeze. After treatment, throw away any unused medicine.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy