Background: Scabies is a common contagious skin disease in children. Treatment of scabies in infants and children is the subject of worldwide concern because of risk and benefit of the variety of scabicides.
Objective: To compare the efficacy of 10 per cent sulfur ointment and 0.3 per cent gamma benzene hexachloride gel for the treatment of scabies in children.
Method: A randomized investigator blind study was conducted to compare the efficacy of 10 per cent sulfur ointment and 0.3 per cent gamma benzene hexachloride (GBH) for the treatment of scabies in children at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health from December 1999 to May 2000. Diagnosis was made by the clinical signs of excoriated papules in the classic distribution with nocturnal pruritus and family history of similar symptoms. Diagnosis for all patients was confirmed by positive skin scrapings for eggs, larva, mites or fecal pellets by light microscopy. Patients were followed-up at intervals of 2 and 4 weeks.
Results: One hundred children with an age range from 6 months to 13 years were randomized into 2 groups, 10 per cent sulfur group (50 cases) and 0.3 per cent GBH (50 cases). Age, sex, history of contact cases and clinical manifestations were not statistically different between the two groups. After 4 weeks of treatment, there were no statistical differences between the two groups in patients assessed cured (92% vs 94%), clinical cure (92% vs 91%) and parasitic cure (83% vs 84%). The adverse effect of foul odor in the sulfur group was more common than in the GBH group (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: 10 per cent sulfur ointment is as safe and efficacious as 0.3 per cent GBH for the treatment of scabies in children.