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March 1977

Gamma Benzene Hexachloride Toxicity: A Review

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Abraham Lincoln School, College of Medicine (Dr Solomon and Mr Fahrner), and the Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy (Mr West), University of Illinois, Chicago.

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(3):353-357. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640030099018

Scabies major health problem. Currently, the most frequently used antiscabetic substance is a lotion containing 1% of the pesticide, gamma benzene hexachloride (lindane). Because of its widespread use in humans and because of some anecdotal communications suggesting that toxic reactions may have been observed in children treated for scabies with gamma benzene hexachloride, we felt it would be of interest to review toxicity of the substance and examine the indications and methods currently recommended for its use.

Gamma benzene hexachloride is the y isomer of 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCCH). It is the chlorine analogue of muco-inositol.1 It is a nonaromatic compound whose physical properties are given in the Figure.

Gamma benzene hexachloride is present in several products sold under a number of trade names. Although gamma benzene hexachloride was probably first synthesized by Michael

Faraday in 1825, the pure alpha, beta, gamma, and delta isomers were not prepared until 1943 by