The efficacy of topical and oral ivermectin in the treatment of human scabies

Ann Parasitol. 2015;61(1):11-6.


Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. The itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the mites. The treatment of choice is still controversial. It is commonly treated with topical insecticides. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of topical and oral ivermectin in the treatment of human scabies. We searched electronic databases (Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group Specialised Register, CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE (Ovid), Pubmed, EMBASE, LILACS, CINAHL, Open Grey and WHO ICTRP) up to September 2014. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or cluster RCTs which compared the efficacy of ivermectin with other medications in the treatment of scabies. Interventions could be compared to each other, or to placebo or to no treatment. The author intended to extract dichotomous data (developed infection or did not develop infection) for the effects of interventions. We intended to report any adverse outcomes similarly. It has been sated that ivermectin was as effective as permethrin in the treatment of scabies. In comparison to other medications such as lindane, benzyl benzoate, crotamiton and malathion, ivermectin was more effective in the treatment of scabies. Ivermectin is an effective and cost-comparable alternative to topical agents in the treatment of scabies infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage*
  • Insecticides / therapeutic use*
  • Ivermectin / administration & dosage*
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use*
  • Scabies / drug therapy*


  • Insecticides
  • Ivermectin