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What Is the Treatment for Scabies?

You can treat scabies with prescription lotions and creams containing ingredients that kill the mites that cause scabies. Treatment should get rid of the mites and their symptoms within about two to four weeks. To treat severe scabies, you’ll need to use stronger medications.

Who Needs Treatment?

Scabies spreads through sexual activity or prolonged skin-to-skin contact. If you’ve been diagnosed with scabies, your medical provider will recommend that your sexual partners and/or household members also be treated, just in case.

Because you can also spread scabies through shared items, it’s important to vacuum carpets and furniture and clean all towels, clothing, and bedding thoroughly before beginning treatment.

Scabies Treatment

Healthcare providers prescribe medicated ointments, creams, and lotions to get rid of scabies. These medications are sometimes called scabicides because they’re formulated to kill mites and, in some cases, their eggs.

When using scabies lotions and creams, apply the medication to clean skin and leave it on for the prescribed period of time. After washing it off, be sure to put on clean clothing. Always follow the exact instructions on the label or from your healthcare provider.

Some of the topical medications often prescribed for scabies include:

  • 5% permethrin cream.
  • 10% crotamiton cream.
  • 25% benzyl benzoate lotion.
  • 5-10% sulfur ointment.
  • 1% lindane lotion.

When used correctly, these treatments clear up the itching and rash associated with scabies within about two to four weeks. If symptoms persist past that, you might need another round of treatment.

Treatment for Severe Scabies

Crusted scabies is a severe form of this condition that causes thick, mite-filled crusts to form on the skin. The topical treatments used for most scabies cases are not strong enough to treat it. Usually, medical providers will prescribe ivermectin pills to treat crusted scabies.

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