How Does Permethrin Cream Work?

Permethrin cream is one of the common medications used to treat scabies. It belongs to the category of scabicide and kills mites and their eggs. It is applied to the skin as a lotion or a topical cream. Permethrin came into existence in 1973 and is considered as “essential medicine” by the World Health Organization. Permethrin cream is available as OTC medication, besides being prescribed by a general physician. Permethrin medication is also termed as the “fist line treatment” for scabies and is available as white or off-white cream with vanishing cream base.

The cream should be used on adults and children older than 2 months. The cream should be applied to the entire body from head to the soles of the feet. Rinse off the cream after 8-14 hours by taking shower or bath.

What are the Ingredients of Permethrin Cream?

Each gram of the cream contains 5% permethrin along with the inactive ingredients like butylatedhydroxytoluene, carbomer 934P, coconut oil, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin alcohols, light mineral oil, polyoxyethylenecetyl ethers, purified water, and sodium hydroxide. It may have Formaldehyde 1 mg as a preservative.

How Does Permethrin Cream Work?

Permethrin cream works by killing the scabies mites and their eggs. Many researches have established that Permethrin cream is more effective than lindane.

Permethrin affects mites if they consume it or come into contact with it. The cream attacks the nervous system in mites, causing muscle spasms, paralysis and death. The cream is toxic to insects/mites than to human beings or pets as they are not able to break it down quickly than latter.

Less than 1% of permethrin applied on the skin was absorbed by the body. Once it is absorbed, it quickly moves throughout your body.

How to Use Permethrin Cream?

  • Read the instructions carefully before applying permethrin cream.
  • Wash your skin before applying the cream. You can also take a bath followed by air dry.
  • Apply the cream from the head to the soles of the feet, covering fingers, underarms, underneath the nails, skinfolds, hands and groin. The cream can be applied on the scalp, side of the head, and forehead of an infant.
  • Allow the cream on the body for 8-14 hours.
  • Rinse off the cream by taking a bath or shower
  • Wear clean clothes
  • After applying the cream, you may have itching (which is normal) for some days.

(NOTE: Call your doctor if you experience intense itching, burning sensation or temporary redness on the skin)

In most cases, a single application is enough to cure most scabies infestations. Generally, itching is decreased within 24 hours, though some itching may persist for up to some days after treatment.

Patients with crusted or Norwegian scabies are required to apply the cream several times. In this case, a physician may prescribe other medications like ivermectin, lindance or sulfur to be used with permethrin cream.

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.

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