Permethrin 5% cream (Elimite) was approved as a treatment for scabies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September 1989. In a double-blinded, randomized study, it was compared with crotamiton 10% cream (Eurax) for the treatment of scabies in children 2 months to 5 years of age. Two weeks after a single overnight treatment, 14 (30%) of 47 children were cured with permethrin 5% cream, in contrast to only 6 of 47 (13%) of subjects treated with Eurax. Four weeks after treatment the figures were 89% and 60% cured for the two agents, respectively. In 10 of the 19 patients whose treatment failed, the condition became worse after therapy. The difference in efficacy in favor of permethrin was significant (P = 0.002). That agent also demonstrated greater effectiveness in reducing pruritus and secondary bacterial infections. Elimite offers a safe, efficacious, and cosmetically elegant alternative to Eurax in the treatment of scabies in children.