Comparison of sulfur ointment and permethrin treatments in scabies

Dermatol Ther. 2022 Dec;35(12):e15897. doi: 10.1111/dth.15897. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Scabies is a contagious, parasitic skin disease that adversely affects the quality of life and, can cause systemic complications if it is not properly treated. Sulfur ointment and permethrin cream are among the most used topical agents in the treatment of scabies. In this study, we aimed to compare the efficacy of sulfur ointment and permethrin cream in the treatment of scabies. In this single-center study, patients who were diagnosed with scabies in the dermatology outpatient clinics of Karabuk University Training and Research Hospital between April, 2021 and September, 2021 were investigated retrospectively. Age, gender, date of diagnosis, topical agent used for scabies treatment, and response to the treatment at the control examination in the second week were recorded. The patients were divided into two groups those receiving 5% permethrin cream or 10% sulfur ointment, and the treatment efficacy of both agents was compared. This study showed that 10% sulfur ointment was significantly more effective in treating scabies than 5% permethrin cream (p < 0.001). Moreover, younger patients with scabies responded better to both treatments. 10% Sulfur ointment can be considered a safe and effective topical option in the treatment of scabies. The resistance to 5% permethrin cream, which is the most commonly used agent for scabies, can be a concern as an unexpected low success rate was obtained in this study.

Keywords: infestations; therapy-topical.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Insecticides*
  • Ivermectin
  • Ointments
  • Permethrin / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scabies* / diagnosis
  • Scabies* / drug therapy
  • Sulfur / adverse effects


  • Permethrin
  • Ointments
  • Sulfur
  • Insecticides
  • Ivermectin