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Scabies - What treatments work for scabies?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Scabies won't go away on its own. If you don't treat it, your symptoms will get worse. You can use medicated lotions or creams to kill the mites that cause scabies. Make sure that everyone in your household is treated at the same time. Otherwise, you could catch scabies again.

  • If you think you have scabies, you should see your doctor or nurse. You need treatment to kill the mites.

  • A treatment called permethrin (brand name Lyclear) works well. It comes as a cream.

  • Malathion is another treatment for scabies. There's not much good research on it, but it tends to be the second choice after permethrin.

  • Another treatment called crotamiton (brand name Eurax) can help get rid of scabies, but it isn't as good as permethrin.

  • It's important to follow your doctor's instructions on how to use a scabies treatment carefully. Otherwise it might not work.

  • If you have the severe form of scabies, called crusted or Norwegian scabies, tablets that contain a medicine called ivermectin work well.

  • Some experts say that bathing in soap and water can help prevent scabies.[15] But we couldn't find any good research to say whether or not this is true.

  • You may get itching for a week or two after the mites have been killed. This doesn't mean the treatment hasn't worked.

Which treatments work best? We've looked at the best research and given a rating for each treatment according to how well it works.

Treatments for scabies

Treatments that work Treatments that are likely to work Treatments that need further study


For references related to Scabies click here.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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