Scabies is one of the skin conditions caused by a tiny burrowing mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. It is characterized by intense itching that occurs in the area where the mite burrows.
Scabies is a contagious condition and can spread quickly through close physical contact. As it is so contagious, doctors recommend scabies treatment for entire families or close contact groups.
Generic drugs are available for scabies, which can be applied to your skin. They kill the mites that cause scabies and their eggs. However, some people may still experience itching for several weeks after treatment.
There are no over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs tested or approved to treat human scabies. Generic drugs for scabies are available only by prescription and they include:
- Permethrin (Generic Elimite)
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), permethrin is available as a cream. It is a synthetic pyrethroid similar to naturally occurring pyrethrins, which are extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. The drug kills the scabies mite and eggs. Generic Elimite is the first drug of choice for the treatment of scabies.
- Crotamiton (Generic Eurax, Generic Crotan)
This drug comes in cream and lotion forms. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for the treatment of scabies in adults. It is not used in children.
- Sulfur Ointment
Sulfur, in an ointment base, is safe for topical use in children with scabies, including those under 2 months of age.
Lindane is an organochloride. The FDA has approved the drug for the treatment of scabies, but it is not recommended as first-line therapy. Accidental swallowing of lindane can be toxic to the brain. Lindane is not advised to premature infants, people with a seizure disorder, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Ivermectin (Generic Stromectol)
Ivermectin is an oral antiparasitic drug approved for the treatment of worm infestations. Studies have shown that oral ivermectin is safe and effective for scabies; however, the FDA does not approve ivermectin for scabies.
Although there are no OTC products for scabies, sulfur soaps and creams, calamine lotion, and antihistamines are used to relieve itching caused by scabies. OTC antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin provide relief from itching, but they do not treat scabies.
Topical agents such as benzyl benzoate and keratolytic cream are used to reduce crust formation. Other topical agents containing tree tea oil, aloe vera, and clove oil could help in healing the eruptions caused by scabies.
Remember, scabies is contagious so you need to take certain measures to ensure you do not spread it to others. For more information on generic drugs for scabies, talk to your doctor.