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Elimite (Generic Permethrin Topical)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Elimite is a prescription medication used to treat scabies, which is a contagious skin infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. This medication contains permethrin, which belongs to a class of drugs known as pyrethrins. Permethrin works by paralyzing and killing the mites and their eggs.

How should this medicine be used?

Elimite is available in cream form for most applications and in a lotion form specifically for use on the scalp and hair. Here’s how each form should be used:

Elimite Cream:

  • Preparation of Skin: Before applying the cream, wash and dry the skin thoroughly. This helps remove any dirt or dead skin cells, allowing the medication to penetrate more effectively.
  • Application Technique: Apply a thin layer of Elimite cream to the affected areas of the skin. It’s important to cover the entire body from the neck down, including all folds and creases. Avoid applying it to the eyes, nose, mouth, or genitals. Use enough cream to cover the entire skin surface, including between fingers and toes, under fingernails and toenails, and on the soles of the feet.
  • Massage In Gently: Massage the cream gently into the skin until it is absorbed. Be sure to cover all affected areas thoroughly.
  • Duration of Application: Leave the cream on the skin for the prescribed amount of time, usually 8 to 14 hours. It is commonly applied before bedtime and washed off in the morning.
  • Repeat Treatment: In some cases, a second application of Elimite may be necessary. This is typically done 7 to 14 days after the first treatment to ensure that any newly hatched mites are also eliminated.

Elimite Lotion (Shampoo):

  • Application Technique: Apply the lotion to the scalp and hair, ensuring that the entire scalp and all hair strands are thoroughly coated with the medication.
  • Massage In Gently: Massage the lotion into the scalp and hair until it is evenly distributed.
  • Duration of Application: Leave the lotion on the scalp and hair for the prescribed amount of time, usually 10 minutes.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After the appropriate amount of time has passed, thoroughly rinse the scalp and hair with water.

It’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the directions on the medication label carefully when using Elimite cream or lotion. If you have any questions or concerns about how to use this medication, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

Elimite (permethrin) is primarily used for the treatment of scabies, a skin condition caused by mites. However, it may also be used off-label for other conditions such as lice infestations, although there are other medications specifically designed for treating lice that may be more effective.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions when using Elimite, here are some important points to consider:

  • Allergic Reactions: Before using Elimite, inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies to permethrin, pyrethrins, or any other ingredients in the medication. Allergic reactions can range from mild skin irritation to more severe symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Medical History: Inform your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have any other skin conditions or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor will weigh the potential benefits and risks of using Elimite in these situations.
  • Avoid Contact with Eyes and Mucous Membranes: When applying Elimite cream or lotion, avoid getting it into your eyes, nose, mouth, or other mucous membranes. If accidental contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Avoid Ingestion: Elimite is for external use only. Do not swallow it, and keep it out of reach of children and pets. If accidental ingestion occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Avoid Overuse: Use Elimite exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use more than the recommended amount or apply it more frequently than directed.
  • Avoid Contact with Open Wounds: Do not apply Elimite to open wounds or broken skin, as this may increase the risk of absorption into the bloodstream and potential adverse effects.
  • Wash Hands After Application: After applying Elimite, wash your hands thoroughly to remove any medication residue and prevent accidental transfer to other parts of the body or to other people.
  • Consult with Healthcare Provider: If you have any questions or concerns about using Elimite, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation and medical history.

By following these precautions and using Elimite as directed by your healthcare provider, you can help ensure safe and effective treatment for scabies or other conditions for which it may be prescribed.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary instructions associated with the use of Elimite. However, it’s essential to maintain a healthy diet to support overall well-being and immune function, which can aid in the recovery process.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to apply Elimite as scheduled, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled application, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Elimite (permethrin) can cause side effects, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects may include:

  • Mild Burning or Stinging: Some individuals may experience a temporary burning or stinging sensation at the site of application. This usually subsides quickly.
  • Itching or Irritation: Application of Elimite may cause temporary itching or irritation at the site of application. This is typically mild and resolves on its own.
  • Redness or Rash: Some people may develop redness or a rash at the site where Elimite was applied. This is usually mild and transient.
  • Numbness or Tingling: In rare cases, individuals may experience numbness or tingling at the application site.
  • Skin Dryness or Flaking: Elimite may cause dryness or flakiness of the skin at the site of application. Using a moisturizer after treatment can help alleviate this symptom.
  • Allergic Reactions: While uncommon, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to permethrin, the active ingredient in Elimite. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.

It’s essential to note that these side effects are usually mild and temporary. However, if you experience severe or persistent side effects, or if you have concerns about any symptoms you’re experiencing, contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance. Additionally, inform your doctor if you experience any unexpected or concerning symptoms while using Elimite.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal of Elimite (permethrin):


  • Store Elimite (permethrin) cream or lotion at room temperature away from light and moisture.
  • Keep Elimite out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store Elimite in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink, where it may be exposed to moisture or humidity.


  • Dispose of any unused or expired Elimite medication properly according to local guidelines or as instructed by your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
  • Do not flush Elimite down the toilet or pour it into a drain unless specifically instructed to do so.
  • If unsure about how to dispose of Elimite safely, consult with your pharmacist or local waste disposal authorities for guidance.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of accidental ingestion of Elimite, contact your local poison control center or seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Symptoms of overdose may include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive salivation.
  • Provide as much information as possible about the quantity and timing of the ingestion when seeking medical assistance.

What other information should I know?

  • Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking before using Elimite, as it may interact with certain drugs.
  • Avoid sexual contact or sharing of clothing, bedding, or towels with others during treatment for scabies to prevent spreading the infestation.
  • Follow all instructions provided by your healthcare provider and on the medication label carefully when using Elimite.
  • If your condition worsens or does not improve after completing the full course of treatment, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and management.
  • Keep all appointments with your doctor for follow-up care and evaluation during and after treatment with Elimite.

By following these guidelines for storage, disposal, emergency procedures, and other important information, you can ensure the safe and effective use of Elimite as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for further assistance.

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