Lindane 1% for Scabies

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Lindane 1% for Scabies


Generic Name
lindane 1%

How It Works

Lindane is a chemical that kills the scabies mite.

Lindane is available as a lotion. It is applied to the skin and left on for 8 hours before being washed off with lukewarm, soapy water. Follow these instructions for using scabies medicines.

Lindane lotion can cause serious side effects if you do not use it exactly as directed. General precautions include the following:

  • Only apply it on cool and dry skin. Chemicals in lindane absorb quickly and easily. If it is applied after bathing when skin is warm and moist, lindane is more likely to become toxic and cause side effects.
  • Never apply the medicine more than one time without first seeing your doctor. Itching may continue even after all the mites have been killed. If you itch, it doesn't mean that you still have scabies. Talk to your doctor, who may advise you to take an antihistamine or other medicine.

Why It Is Used

Lindane is an insecticide used to kill parasites on animals and humans. It can be used to treat scabies but usually only as a second-line treatment.1 This means that lindane should be used only after another medicine, usually permethrin (Nix Dermal Cream or Kwellada-P Lotion), is tried first. This is because lindane can cause dangerous side effects in certain people or if it is not used exactly as directed.

How Well It Works

For people who haven't had success with other treatments, lindane may work to cure scabies.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you or your child and you wonder if you or your child should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking/using your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you or your child has:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child has:

  • Seizures.
  • A feeling of being dizzy or unsteady.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Fussiness, grouchiness, or restlessness.
  • Vomiting.

Lindane can have dangerous central nervous system (neurotoxic) effects, because it can become toxic when high amounts are absorbed into the bloodstream.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Lindane is a poison. It can cause harm if it's swallowed or if it's absorbed into the skin. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Keep it away from the eyes and mouth.

If you have a seizure disorder or if you have certain skin conditions, do not use lindane.

It is important to use this product exactly as directed. Although most of the side effects reported from this product are from misuse and overuse, it does contain potentially harmful toxins.

Itching may last for 7 to 10 days after treatment. But itching is not a reason to use the product again. Overuse of lice products (such as using the product more often than it was prescribed) can irritate the skin and may increase the risk of side effects.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Stone SP (2003). Scabies and pediculosis. In IM Freedberg et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 6th ed., vol. 2, chap. 238, pp. 2283–2289. New York: McGraw-Hill.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised May 6, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.