Topical scabicidal agent, Permethrin Cream 5% is used to treat scabies infestation, which is caused by itch mites Sarcoptes scabiei (scabies). Permethrin, a pyrethroid, contains an insecticide that’s active against various skin ailments caused by pests, such as fleas, scabies mites, lice, ticks, and other arthropods. It disrupts the sodium channel current, which polarizes nerve cell membrane in mites. Due to the delayed repolarization, the pests are paralyzed due to disturbance caused by the medicament.
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How does it work?
Permethrin cream metabolizes by ester hydrolysis that further inactivates metabolites that are further excreted through urination. However, the amount of Permethrin that absorbs after the first application has not been determined, but as per certain studies, it’s proven that 2% or less amount is absorbed after a single application.
Permethrin 5% is able to kill scabies mites with seven days of application. You need to follow the instructions given by the doctor, as well as mentioned in the manual to treat scabies. The According to the National Institutes of Health, the following use of 5% permethrin cream is recommended:
- Read the directions given on the package carefully before applying for the medicine.
- Thoroughly wash and dry skin before application.
- You need to massage the cream into the skin from head to soles of the feet, while paying attention to in-between fingers and toes, creases of your skin like underarms, groin, etc. Scabies rarely affects scalp of adults, but hairline, side of the head, neck, and forehead may be affected in infants and older people.
How to apply:
- You need to leave the permethrin cream on the skin for 8-12 hours or leave it overnight.
- Wash off after the recommended time by taking a shower.
- After that reapply the cream for another 8-12 hours. Continue this treatment for up to seven days.
Why is it used?
Permethrin cream (Elimite) is one of the primary medicines that’s recommended for treating scabies infestation. It is safe to use for children, as well as women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Permethrin 5% cream is considered safe even for infants that are 2 months old. However, this cream must be used carefully on people who are allergic to pyrethrin products. The alternative, medicament is prescribed to such patients.
How well it works?
According to research, permethrin is known to be more effective than lindane, without any risk of rare side effects. Even a single application of permethrin cream (Elimite) can easily cure scabies symptoms to a great extent. You will notice a reduction in itching within 24 hours of application and improvement in the skin ailment after several weeks of treatment.
People with crusted (Norwegian) scabies, which is a rare form of scabies, must apply for the medicine several times of the day. In such cases, initial permethrin treatment is followed with other scabies medicines like lindane, ivermectin, or sulfur to cure this form of scabies.
Permethrin is considered very safe for use. However, following are the possible side effects of this medicament:
- Temporary skin redness.
- Burning sensation.
If these side effects persist, you immediately need to consult your doctor.
Note: You may experience itching up to several weeks even after scabies treatment. This happens due to skin’s reaction to the dead remains of itch mites. This means the body is still reacting to the mites and their feces.
Unless recommended by your doctor, do not apply permethrin cream for scabies more than once. This is because overuse of scabies medicines can further irritate your skin, increasing the risk of side effects and even irritate your skin more than usual.