Treatment practices in the management of scabies in infants younger than two months

Pediatr Dermatol. 2021 Mar;38(2):431-435. doi: 10.1111/pde.14523. Epub 2021 Jan 24.


Background/objectives: Efficacy and safety data of scabies treatments in infants are limited. Although topical permethrin is used in the treatment of scabies in adults, it is not approved for use in infants younger than 2 months of age in many parts of the world. This study aimed to describe treatment practices in the management of scabies in infants younger than 2 months.

Methods: An online survey was developed and distributed to physicians worldwide through the Society of Pediatric Dermatology and the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance. Data collected included demographics, medication availability, experience using medications, deterrents to medication use, medication administration preferences, perceived and experienced medication side effects, and preferred treatment agent in this population.

Results: In total, 57 physicians from seven countries responded. The majority of respondents were board-certified in pediatric dermatology (48/57, 84.2%) and resided in the United States (44/57, 77.2%). Respondents had experience using permethrin (47/57, 82.5%) and precipitated sulfur (35/57, 61.4%) most frequently. Most (38/57, 66.7%) preferred permethrin as their treatment of choice. Among those who did not use permethrin, potential side effects (8/10, 80%) were most frequently reported as a deterrent from its use. However, only 4.3% (22/47) of those who used permethrin reported side effects, including itching, erythema, and xerosis.

Conclusions: Permethrin is frequently used in the treatment of infants younger than 2 months with scabies. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that permethrin is the preferred treatment agent among sampled dermatologists for infants younger than 2 months. Few side effects were reported, and none were serious.

Keywords: infestations; neonatal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dermatology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insecticides*
  • Ivermectin
  • Permethrin
  • Pruritus
  • Scabies* / drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin
  • Ivermectin