Delusional parasitosis: a clinical profile

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2000;30(1):83-91. doi: 10.2190/BBDT-CGB9-BB3L-8HM3.


Objective: Delusional parasitosis is a form of monohypochondriacal psychosis, a condition sometimes encountered in psychiatric or primary care practice. The outcome of this condition is not well known.

Method: In the present study, a series of fifty-two consecutive cases of delusional parasitosis is reported.

Results: A majority of cases (92%) had insidious onset. The duration of symptoms in all but two cases was six months or more. Twenty-six cases presented with a delusion of infestation by insects over the body and twenty-three cases with a delusion of insects crawling over the scalp. Three cases had associated diabetes mellitus, five cases had leprosy, five cases dementia, four cases had depression, and three cases presented with trichotillomania. Pimozide was used in forty-six cases, amitriptyline and fluoxetine in three cases each. Twenty-eight cases (54%) showed complete remission while receiving pharmacotherapy, eighteen cases showed partial improvement, and six cases did not respond to treatment.

Conclusion: Further studies are warranted to study the treatment and outcome of this important psychiatric disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Delusions / drug therapy
  • Delusions / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parasitic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Parasitic Diseases / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents