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Lindane shampoo

Generic Name: lindane (LIN-dane)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Only use lindane shampoo if you have already tried other safer treatments and experienced severe side effects or the treatments did not work. Seizures and death have occurred following repeated or prolonged use of lindane shampoo, and rarely after a single use according to the directions. Do not use lindane shampoo if you have a history of seizures or certain skin conditions where the skin is irritated or broken (eg, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis) or to treat premature infants. Use lindane shampoo with extreme caution to treat infants or children, if you are elderly, or if you weigh less than 110 lbs (50 kg) because you may be at greater risk of serious nervous system side effects. Follow the directions for using lindane shampoo very carefully. You may experience symptoms such as continued itching after using lindane shampoo, even if it has worked well. If itching continues, contact your doctor. Do not use more of lindane shampoo or use lindane shampoo more often than prescribed by your doctor.


Lindane shampoo is used for:

Treating head and crab (pubic) lice after safer medicines have failed or have caused side effects.

Lindane shampoo is a shampoo that kills lice and their eggs.

Do NOT use lindane shampoo if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in lindane shampoo
  • you have a history of seizures or certain skin conditions in which the skin is irritated or broken (eg, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • you are breast-feeding
  • you have used lindane shampoo in the last few months
  • you are treating a premature infant

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using lindane shampoo:

Some medical conditions may interact with lindane shampoo. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine (especially seizure medicines), herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you weigh less than 110 pounds (50 kg)
  • if you have a history of skin conditions (eg, psoriasis, dermatitis), crusted or broken skin, HIV or AIDS, a history of head trauma or seizures, a brain or spinal cord tumor, or severe liver disease (cirrhosis)
  • if you drink alcohol in excess, are taking sedatives, or have abruptly stopped drinking alcohol or taking sedatives

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with lindane shampoo. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Phenothiazines (eg, thioridazine), isoniazid, sedatives (eg, phenobarbital, diazepam), theophylline, or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because side effects of lindane shampoo may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if lindane shampoo may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use lindane shampoo:

Use lindane shampoo as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Lindane shampoo comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get lindane shampoo refilled.
  • Lindane shampoo is for external use only.
  • Shake well before using.
  • Wash hair with your regular shampoo (without conditioner) and dry your hair well. Your hair should be completely dry before applying lindane shampoo.
  • Wait at least 1 hour before using lindane shampoo, to lessen the chance of absorbing the lindane through your skin.
  • Wear disposable gloves (made of nitrile, latex with neoprene, or sheer vinyl) while applying lindane shampoo. Do not use natural latex gloves because more lindane can penetrate them. Hands should be thoroughly washed after applying lindane shampoo.
  • Using only enough medicine to lightly coat the hair and scalp, apply the medicine directly to dry hair without adding any water. Work it in well (without lathering) and leave it in your hair for exactly 4 minutes (use a timer or clock). Pay special attention to fine hairs along the neck and behind the ears.
  • After 4 minutes, add a little warm water until the shampoo lathers well. Do not use hot water. Rinse off the shampoo immediately after it lathers. Avoid unnecessary contact of later with body surfaces. Dry hair with a towel. Wash your hands when you are done.
  • Remove nits (eggs) from hair with a nit comb or tweezers.
  • Do not use oil treatments, oil-based hair dressings, or conditioners immediately before or after applying lindane. Oil-based products may increase the absorption of lindane through your skin and into your bloodstream, increasing the risk of serious side effects.
  • Do not cover the treated areas with bandages or other dressings that do not breathe, such as a shower cap or towel.
  • There may be some shampoo remaining in the container. Close the bottle with the remaining medicine and discard the container and gloves in the trash out of the reach of children and away from pets.
  • If you miss a dose of lindane shampoo, use it as soon as you remember. Continue to use it as directed by your doctor.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use lindane shampoo.

Important safety information:

  • Lindane shampoo may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to lindane shampoo. Using lindane shampoo alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Limit alcohol intake while using lindane shampoo.
  • Before you use lindane shampoo, look carefully to make sure that the patient is infested with live lice. Nits (empty egg casings) can remain on the hair shaft long after infestation is over.
  • Use lindane shampoo exactly as directed by your health care provider and only for lice. Do not exceed the recommended dose or use lindane shampoo for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Avoid getting lindane shampoo in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse eyes with water immediately if lindane gets into them, and contact your doctor immediately if a burning sensation continues.
  • Do not take lindane shampoo by mouth. If you get lindane shampoo in your mouth or you swallow it, call your poison control center right away and get emergency help.
  • If you or a family member have a seizure while using lindane shampoo, get emergency help right away.
  • Do not use lindane shampoo if you have open wounds, cuts, or sores that are present, unless advised to do so by your health care provider.
  • Your health care provider should instruct you on how to properly use lindane shampoo, especially the amount to apply, how long to leave it on the treated area, and the need to avoid re-treatment. This product can be poisonous if misused.
  • All recently worn clothing, underwear, pajamas, used bed sheets, pillows, stuffed animals, towels, etc. should be washed in very hot water or dry cleaned.
  • Soak all possibly infested combs, brushes, and other hair care items in water heated to 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Itching may continue for up to several weeks. This does not indicate treatment failure.
  • Because lice can be easily transferred from one person to another (especially if you have crab/pubic hair lice), all family members and close contacts should be examined.
  • Sexual contacts of the patient should also be inspected for lice and treated as appropriate. Do not share lindane shampoo with your partner or anyone else.
  • Lindane shampoo is used to treat a current lice infestation only. It cannot be used to prevent future lice infestations.
  • Do not touch other people's skin while you have lindane shampoo on your skin.
  • Use lindane shampoo with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Caution is advised when using lindane shampoo in CHILDREN because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if lindane shampoo can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking lindane shampoo, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using lindane shampoo during pregnancy. It is unknown if lindane shampoo is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking lindane shampoo.

Possible side effects of lindane shampoo:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Burning; redness of skin; skin rash; stinging.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); dizziness; drowsiness; seizures; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include bloody urine; irregular heartbeat; nausea; restlessness; seizures; unsteadiness; vomiting. Lindane shampoo may be harmful if swallowed.

Proper storage of lindane shampoo:

Store lindane shampoo at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not freeze. Keep lindane shampoo out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about lindane shampoo, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Lindane shampoo is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take lindane shampoo or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about lindane shampoo. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to lindane shampoo. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using lindane shampoo.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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