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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;26(2):133-9. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32835e1d57.

Treatment and control of scabies.

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School of Health and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Herston, Queensland, Australia.



The treatment of individual patients with scabies and its control in institutional and community settings remains challenging, with relatively few treatment choices available. In this review, evidence of the efficacy of available treatments will be discussed, and possible emerging drug resistance and new therapeutic directions outlined.


Although there has been attention on the use of ivermectin for the treatment of ordinary scabies and for mass drug administration, evidence supporting its superiority for both indications over alternative treatment is inconclusive. This is particularly true in light of several case reports of drug resistance in human and veterinary settings when the drug has been intensively used. When used correctly, topical agents such as permethrin and benzyl benzoate are effective. Little research on the development of new and more effective acaricides suitable for human use is underway. While the in-vitro acaricidal properties of several natural products have been documented, these are yet to be evaluated in animal studies or clinical trials.


When properly administered, chemotherapy for scabies remains effective in most situations. However, with reports of drug resistance increasing and with the need for therapies suitable for use in interventions to control community outbreaks, there is a need to develop new therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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