Does Scabies Become Immune to Permethrin Cream?

Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies is difficult to distinguish from most skin infections, but its major symptoms that help identify the disease include severe itching and red rashes on the skin. There a number of medications available for the treatment of scabies – permethrin, ivermectin, and lindane being the most readily available ones.

Scabies is a contagious infection; therefore, it’s advisable to treat all the people in the household for scabies, especially anyone who’s had sexual contact with the infected person in the last month or so. Bedding and clothing used by the infected people should be washed in hot water and it should be dried in hot dryer.

Besides precautions, treatment is very necessary for speedy recovery. Permethrin is the most important medications used to treat scabies in adults and children above the age of 2 months. Permethrin is over the counter prescription drug, which can be used to treat scabies and head lice and works by killing the mites and lice.

Permethrin comes as a cream or lotion to apply on the skin and comprises of insecticide. It kills the insects or mites in the human body. Generally, two applications of treatment with permethrin are required in a week. The entire body, from head to the underside of the foot, should be treated both the times. If the mites are still seen after two weeks from the first treatment of permethrin, then another round of treatment may be required.

Use instruction

Permerthin contains insecticide, it is therefore important that the cream or lotion (depending on the form it is being used in) should be used only on the skin and scalp. Avoid permerthin contact with eyes, ears, nose, eyebrows, eyelashes, mouth or vagina.

Permethrin immunity to scabies

Undoubtedly, permethrin is the most used and most effective medication for scabies. But over time, scabies mites have started to become resistant to insecticides, such as used in permethrin. Over time there have been many people – endless stories can be found on the internet – who have had scabies that just refuse to go because of all the precautions and uses of permethrin.

People have acquired mites resulting in scabies, and there have been cases where despite continuous use of permethrin, people have not been able to achieve desired results. An insecticide, which is good enough to damage the skin is failing to have any sound effect against scabies – it’s failing to kill the scabies mites – something somewhere is really wrong?

There are no valid theories to prove if scabies has become immune to permethrin, but here are few reasons we can believe so:

  • Permethrin basically works by paralyzing the mites and then with repeated use, eventually kills the mites. Like other micro-organisms that develop resistance against some kind of drugs, it seems that scabies mites have also developed resistance against permethrin, due to their prolonged exposure to the drug.


  • Permethrin users have reported that as long as they have the cream applied to the skin, the scabies mites are partially paralyzed, but as soon the cream is washed off, the scabies itching returns.


  • There is a belief that scabies mites kind off dig deeper in the skin and permethrin cream doesn’t get to them very easily and they do not really get intoxicated with it. The female mites keep laying eggs under the skin; they hatch and keep spreading scabies. Permethrin is a used for treating, but it’s not a 100 percent cure.

If you have noticed permethrin is not showing desired effects in treatment, it is time for you to consider alternative treatment; since, relying on just one medication may not be a wise idea.

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