[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 1990

Comparative Study of 5% Permethrin Cream and 1% Lindane Lotion for the Treatment of Scabies

Author Affiliations

From Burroughs Wellcome Co, Research Triangle Park, NC (Ms Schultz); the Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona, Tucson (Dr Hansen); San Francisco (Calif) General Hospital (Dr Mills); Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Tex (Dr Menter); Disease Control Service, Denver, Colo (Dr Judson); the Division of Infectious Disease, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (Dr Mertz); and the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and the University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Handsfield). Drs Gomez and Rodgers are in private practice, Dallas, Tex, and San Jose, Calif, respectively.

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(2):167-170. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670260037006

• A multicenter, randomized, investigator-blind, controlled trial was conducted to compare the safety and efficacy of a single, whole-body application of 5% permethrin cream with that of 1% lindane lotion for the treatment of scabies in 467 patients. At 14 ± 3 days after treatment, the mean active lesion count decreased from pretreatment levels of 85 (range, 4 to 600) in both treatment groups to 14 (range, 0 to 133) in the permethrin group and to 15 lesions (range, 0 to 500) in the lindane group. At 28 7 days after treatment, complete resolution had occurred in 181 (91%) of 199 patients treated with permethrin and in 176 (86%) of 205 patients given lindane. Pruritus due to scabies persisted at 28 ± 7 days in 14% of the permethrin group and in 25% of the lindane group. The most frequent adverse effects were new or increased pruritus and mild, transient burning or stinging; the latter was slightly more frequent following permethrin treatment and appeared to be related to severity of infestation. Because of a lower potential for neurologic toxicity, permethrin may be preferable to lindane for the treatment of scabies, particularly in children.

(Arch Dermatol. 1990;126:167-170)