Ivermectin for Scabies
In the United States, treating scabies with ivermectin is
unlabeled use of the medicine.
How It Works
Ivermectin is a prescription medicine
taken as a pill to kill
scabies mites and their eggs.
Why It Is Used
Doctors may prescribe ivermectin to
treat a scabies infestation in certain situations.1
- People who have a severe or resistant form of
scabies infestation, such as
crusted (Norwegian) scabies, may be prescribed
ivermectin in combination with medicine applied to the skin, such as
permethrin. It can be especially helpful for treating
HIV-infected people who have scabies.
pill form of medicine may be preferred for some people who are unlikely to use
topical medicated creams or lotions properly.
- Ivermectin may help get rid
of or prevent scabies for people in group living situations, such as those who
live in nursing homes.
Ivermectin is usually not used for children younger than 5
or for pregnant women, because its safety in these children is not known.2
How Well It Works
Ivermectin is effective for treating
scabies.3, 4 One dose may be
all that is needed, although sometimes a second dose is given a week or two
Limited data suggests that ivermectin
treatment is safe for adults and children who weigh more than
33 lb (15 kg).
Mild side effects may include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Ivermectin is getting more
attention in the medical community as a treatment option for scabies. But more
testing is needed to confirm its safety and to identify the people who would
benefit most from it.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Diaz JH (2010). Scabies. In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 3633-3636. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Stone SP, et al. (2008). Scabies, other mites, and
pediculosis. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2029-2037. New York:
Johnstone P, Strong M (2008). Scabies, search date
October 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:
Strong M, Johnstone PW (2007). Interventions for
treating scabies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).