Topical Ivermectin: A New Successful Treatment for Scabies


Address correspondence to Jairo Victoria, M.D., Hospital Universitario del Valle, Departamento de Dermatología, 4° Piso Consulta Externa, Cali, Colombia, or e-mail:


Abstract: Ivermectin is the only one of the avermectins that has been widely used in humans, since it is recommended as the treatment of choice for onchocerciasis, a filariasis that produces “river blindness,” a parasitic endemic infestation in countries of West Equatorial Africa and in some areas of Central and South America. Also, ivermectin has been used for treating human endo- and ectoparasites with effective results and with almost no side effects. To study the efficacy of ivermectin for scabies, which is very common in Colombia, a trial with this drug that could be easily administered, with fast application and high efficacy, was undertaken. For this purpose, six complete families with active scabies, consisting of 12 adults and 20 children ranging in age from 1 to 10 years, were treated with 1% ivermectin in a solution of propylene glycol applied topically to the affected skin. The dose employed was 400 μg/kg, repeated once the following week. All patients were cured, tolerated the medication well, and there were no side effects or signs of recurrence 2, 4, or 6 weeks after therapy. In addition to its efficacy, easy administration, and lack of side effects, ivermectin is a low-cost medication.