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ivermectin (Topical application route)

Pronunciation

eye-ver-MEK-tin

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Sklice

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Lotion

Therapeutic Class: Anthelmintic

Chemical Class: Avermectin

Uses For ivermectin

Ivermectin 0.5% topical lotion is used to treat head lice infestations.

Slideshow: View Frightful (But Dead Serious) Drug Side Effects

ivermectin is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using ivermectin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For ivermectin, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ivermectin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ivermectin topical in children. However, use is not recommended in infants younger than 6 months of age.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ivermectin topical in the elderly.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Proper Use of ivermectin

Use ivermectin exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor tells you. Do not change your treatment without checking first with your doctor.

Use ivermectin on the hair and scalp only. Keep the medicine out of your eyes, nose, mouth, and vagina. If the medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them well with water.

ivermectin comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

To use:

  • Wash your hands before and after using ivermectin.
  • Apply the medicine directly to dry hair (up to 1 tube) closest to the scalp and then apply outwards. Completely cover your entire head. Leave the medicine on the hair and scalp for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, rinse your hair with warm water and dry with a clean towel. Comb hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove any nits (eggs) or nit shells. They look like small white dots.
  • If live lice are seen 7 days after using ivermectin, tell your doctor right away.
  • Do not use ivermectin again without talking to your doctor first.
  • Children will need an adult to apply the medicine for them.
  • Throw away any unused medicine left in the tube after each use.

Do not use cosmetics and other hair products on the treated hair and scalp areas.

Dosing

The dose of ivermectin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of ivermectin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (lotion):
    • For head lice:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children 6 months of age and older—Apply directly to dry hair and scalp one time only.
      • Infants younger than 6 months of age—Use is not recommended.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using ivermectin

Head lice can be easily spread from one person to another by direct contact with clothing, hats, bandannas, scarves, bedding, towels, washcloths, ribbons, hair bands, helmets, hairbrushes and combs, or hairs from infected persons. All members of your household should be checked for head lice and should receive treatment if they are found to be infected. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

To prevent spread of lice: Dry-clean or wash your clothes, bedding, and personal items (including washcloths, towels, hats, scarves, combs, brushes, hairpieces, and wigs) in hot, soapy water.

Do not use ivermectin for a hair or scalp problem that has not been checked by your doctor.

ivermectin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Rare
  • Burning sensation of the skin
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • dandruff
  • discharge or excessive tearing
  • dry skin
  • redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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