Permethrin skin cream
What is this medication?
PERMETHRIN (per METH rin) skin cream is used to treat scabies.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Acticin, Elimite
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
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 medication?
This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. A bath or shower is NOT recommended before applying this medicine. Thoroughly rub the cream into all skin surfaces, from your head to the soles of your feet. It is important to apply it everywhere on your body, not just where the rash is. Apply the cream between fingers and toe creases, in the folds of the wrist and waistline, in the cleft of the buttocks, on the genitals, and in the belly button. Use a toothpick to apply the cream beneath your fingernails and toenails. Nails should be cut short. If you have little or no hair, or you are applying the cream to an infant or young child, make sure you rub the cream into the neck, scalp, hairline, temples, and forehead. Leave it on for 8 to 14 hours, then remove it by bathing and shampooing. If you are applying this medicine to another person, wear plastic or disposable gloves to protect yourself from infestation. Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If you do, rinse out with plenty of cool tap water.
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 of age 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 medication?
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 medication?
It is not unusual for itching and rash to continue for as long as 2 to 4 weeks after treatment. These symptoms may be a temporary reaction to the remains of the mites. This does not mean this cream did not work or that it needs to be reapplied. If you feel that the itching and rash is intense or if it continues beyond 4 weeks, talk to your doctor or health care professional right away.
Scabies is spread by direct skin contact with an infected person. Family members and sexual partners may require treatment with this medicine. You should discuss this with your doctor or health care professional.
Using a normal washing cycle, you should wash all clothing, towels and bed linen that has touched your skin. You do not need to rewash clean clothing that has not yet been worn. Coats, furniture, rugs, floors, and walls do not need to be cleaned in any special manner.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
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 skin
•stinging or burning
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 medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature away from heat and direct light. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
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