Permethrin is used to treat scabies ('mites that attach themselves to the skin) in adults and children 2 months of age and older. Over-the-counter permethrin is used to treat lice (small insects that attach themselves to the skin on the head) in adults and children 2 months of age and older. Permethrin is in a class of medications called scabicides and pediculicides. It works by killing lice and mites.
Permethrin comes as a cream to apply to the skin. Over-the-counter permethrin comes as a lotion to apply to the scalp and hair. Permethrin cream is usually applied to the skin in one treatment, but occasionally a second treatment is necessary. Permethrin lotion is usually applied to the skin in one or two treatments, but occasionally three treatments are necessary. If live mites are seen two weeks (14 days) after the first treatment with permethrin cream, then a second treatment should be applied. If live lice are seen one week after the first treatment with over-the-counter permethrin lotion, then a second treatment should be applied. Follow the directions on your prescription label or the package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use permethrin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Permethrin should only be used on the skin or hair and scalp. Avoid getting permethrin in your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, or vagina. Do not use permethrin on your eyebrows or eyelashes.
If permethrin gets in your eyes, flush them with water right away. If your eyes are still irritated after flushing with water, call your doctor or get medical help right away.
To use permethrin cream, follow these steps:
To use the lotion, follow these steps:
After using permethrin, sanitize all the clothing, underwear, pajamas, hats, sheets, pillowcases, and towels you have used recently. These items should be washed in very hot water or dry-cleaned. You should also wash combs, brushes, hairs clips and other personal care items in hot water.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using permethrin,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Permethrin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Permethrin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
If someone swallows permethrin, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Do not let anyone else use your permethrin cream. Your prescription for permethrin cream is probably not refillable. If you feel you need additional treatment, call your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about permethrin lotion.
Lice are generally spread by close head-to-head contact or from items that come in contact with your head. Do not share combs, brushes, towels, pillows, hats, helmets, headphones, scarves, or hair accessories. Be sure to check everyone in your immediate family for head lice if another family member is being treated for lice.
If you have scabies, tell your doctor if you have a sexual partner. This person should also be treated.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: January 15, 2018.