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Lindane

Class: Scabicides and Pediculicides
CAS Number: 58-98-9

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Aug 24, 2020. Written by ASHP.

Warning

  • Use only in patients who have not responded to or cannot tolerate other recommended therapies.

    CNS Toxicity
  • Seizures and deaths have been reported following repeated or prolonged topical application; however, rare cases reported after a single application. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

  • Increased risk of serious neurotoxicity in infants, children, geriatric patients, patients weighing <50 kg, and patients with certain other skin conditions.

  • Contraindicated in premature neonates and patients with uncontrollable seizure disorders.

    Proper Use
  • Instruct patients or their caregivers on the proper use of shampoo or lotion, including the amount to apply, how soon to wash the drug off, and the importance of avoiding repeated application.

  • Inform patients that pruritus may persist after successful treatment and is not an indication for further treatment.

Introduction

A scabicide and pediculicide.

Uses for Lindane

Pediculosis

Used as a second-line agent for the topical treatment of pediculosis capitis (head lice infestation) caused by Pediculus humanus var capitis in patients who have not responded to or who cannot tolerate other recommended therapies.

Used as a second-line agent for the topical treatment of pediculosis pubis (pubic lice infestation) caused by Phthirus pubis in patients who have not responded to or cannot tolerate other recommended therapies.

Not recommended as initial therapy for pediculosis capitis or pediculosis pubis because of reports of resistance and neurotoxicity (e.g., seizures). (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Scabies

Used as a second-line agent for the topical treatment of scabies in patients who have not responded to or cannot tolerate other recommended therapies.

Not recommended for the treatment of Norwegian scabies because of the risks of neurotoxicity with heavy application and denuded skin. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Not effective in the prophylaxis of scabies; does not prevent infestation or reinfestation.

Used as treatment of individuals (e.g., household, family, and sexual contacts) who have had close personal contact with a patient with scabies within the previous month.

Has been used for treatment of scabies epidemics in institutional settings (e.g., nursing homes, hospitals, residential facilities and communities). However, permethrin is recommended as a scabicide of choice in institutional outbreaks.

Lindane Dosage and Administration

General

Measures to Avoid Reinfestation and Transmission

  • To avoid reinfestation or transmission following treatment, all clothing, bed linens, and towels used within the last 72 hours should be machine-washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer or dry-cleaned; fumigation of living areas is not necessary.

  • For lice infestation, it is recommended that items that cannot be laundered or dry-cleaned be removed from contact and sealed in a plastic bag for 10 days.

  • Combs and brushes used by the infected patient may be disinfected by soaking in hot water (temperature exceeding 53°C) for 5 minutes; alternatively, soaking in a pediculicide for 1 hour may be used. Combs and brushes may be washed with lindane shampoo, but they should be rinsed thoroughly with water to remove the drug.

Pediculosis

  • Pruritus does not indicate treatment failure and is not an indication for further treatment. Oral antihistamines and/or topical corticosteroids may be used to help relieve pruritus. (See Dermatologic and Sensitivity Reactions under Cautions.)

Scabies

  • Follow-up examinations of patients recommended 2 and 4 weeks after treatment. If patient is not clear of new lesions at either examination, it should be considered a treatment failure (secondary to failure to treat all exposed individuals or failure to apply the drug properly). If patient is clear of new lesions when examined at 2 weeks but has new lesions at 4 weeks, it should be considered a reinfestation rather than a treatment failure.

  • Pruritus does not indicate treatment failure and is not an indication for further treatment. Oral antihistamines and/or topical corticosteroids may be used to help relieve pruritus. (See Dermatologic and Sensitivity Reactions under Cautions.)

  • Scabies rarely affects the head of adults but may affect the head of infants and young children.

Administration

Topical Administration

Lindane shampoo is indicated only for the treatment of lice. Lindane lotion is indicated only for the treatment of scabies.

Apply topically to the skin.

Lindane preparations are for external use only and should not be ingested.

Do not apply to patients with extensive dermatitis or to those with acutely inflamed skin or raw, weeping surfaces. Do not use if open wounds, cuts, or sores are present at the site of application.

Avoid contact with the eyes and mouth. If contact with the eyes occurs, immediately flush the eyes with water.

Not a suitable alternative for infants, young children, pregnant and lactating women, or in those with extensive dermatitis because of the drug’s topical toxicity profile. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Parents or caregivers who apply lindane on an infected individual should wear gloves made of nitrile, latex with neoprene, or sheer vinyl; natural latex gloves should not be used since lindane can diffuse through natural latex gloves. Hands should be thoroughly cleaned after application is completed.

Shampoo

Apply to hair that is clean and completely dry.

Hair may be washed at least 1 hour before applying lindane shampoo with regular shampoo (without conditioner) and dried completely.

Avoid use of oil treatments or oil-based hair preparations immediately before or after applying lindane shampoo. (See Oils and Oil-based Preparations under Interactions.)

Apply 30–60 mL of shampoo to hair; use just enough to lightly coat hair and scalp. Work shampoo thoroughly into hair and allow to stay in place for 4 minutes. Special attention should be given to the fine hairs along the neck and behind the ears. After 4 minutes, add small quantities of water to the hair to form a good lather and then immediately and thoroughly rinse hair until all the lather is gone. Avoid unnecessary contact of lather with other body parts.

One treatment usually is effective in eradicating pediculosis capitis and pediculosis pubis.

If symptoms persist, do not retreat with lindane because of concerns about neurotoxicity. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.) Retreatment with an alternative pediculicide may be appropriate at the advice of the clinician if live lice or nits are detected after 1 week.

For further information on application of lindane shampoo, consult manufacturer’s patient information.

Lotion

Apply a thin layer of lotion to skin that is clean and free of any creams, ointments, or oil. Do not apply to the skin immediately after a bath or shower; patients should wait at least 1 hour after bathing or showering and the skin should be completely dry before applying lotion. (See Oils and Oil-based Preparations under Interactions.)

Apply uniformly and gently massage into all skin surfaces (entire trunk and extremities) from the neck to the toes (including the soles of the feet). Do not apply to the face, eyes, mucous membranes, or urethral meatus. After 8–12 hours, completely wash lotion off the body using warm (not hot) water. Do not leave lotion on the skin for >12 hours.

One treatment usually is successful. If symptoms persist, do not retreat with lindane because of concerns about neurotoxicity. Additional treatment with an alternative scabicide generally is warranted only if live mites can be demonstrated.

For further information on application of lindane lotion, consult manufacturer’s patient information.

Dosage

Pediatric Patients

Use with caution in children weighing <50 kg, especially infants. (See Pediatric Use under Cautions.)

Pediculosis
Topical

Children ≥2 years of age: Apply about 30–60 mL of shampoo once to hair; amount of shampoo needed depends on the length of the hair (most patients require only 30 mL). After 4 minutes, add small quantities of water to the hair to form a good lather and then immediately and thoroughly rinse hair until all the lather is gone.

Because of concerns about neurotoxicity, retreatment with lindane is not recommended. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Scabies
Topical

Children ≥2 years of age: Apply lotion once into all skin surfaces (entire trunk and extremities) from the neck to the toes (including the soles of the feet).

After 8–12 hours, lotion must be completely washed off the body using warm (not hot) water. Do not leave on the skin for >12 hours.

Because of concerns about neurotoxicity, retreatment with lindane is not recommended. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Adults

Pediculosis
Topical

Apply about 30–60 mL of shampoo once to hair; amount of shampoo needed depends on the length of the hair (most patients require only 30 mL). After 4 minutes, add small quantities of water to the hair to form a good lather and then immediately and thoroughly rinse hair until all the lather is gone.

Because of concerns about neurotoxicity, retreatment with lindane is not recommended. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Scabies
Topical

Apply lotion once into all skin surfaces (entire trunk and extremities) from the neck to the toes (including the soles of the feet).

Approximately 30 mL of the lotion is recommended for an average adult.

After 8–12 hours, lotion must be completely washed off the body using warm (not hot) water. Do not leave on the skin for >12 hours.

Because of concerns about neurotoxicity, retreatment with lindane is not recommended. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.)

Prescribing Limits

Pediatric Patients

Pediculosis
Topical

Children ≥2 years of age: Do not leave shampoo in the hair for >4 minutes and do not retreat.

Scabies
Topical

Children ≥2 years of age: Do not leave lotion on the skin for >12 hours and do not retreat.

Adults

Pediculosis
Topical

Do not leave shampoo in the hair for >4 minutes and do not retreat.

Scabies
Topical

Do not leave lotion on the skin for >12 hours and do not retreat.

Special Populations

Hepatic Impairment

No specific dosage recommendations.

Renal Impairment

No specific dosage recommendations.

Geriatric Patients

No specific dosage recommendations.

Cautions for Lindane

Contraindications

Premature neonates.

Uncontrollable seizure disorders.

Norwegian scabies (crusted scabies) and in those with other skin disorders (e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis).

Known sensitivity to lindane or any ingredient in the formulations.

Warnings/Precautions

Sensitivity Reactions

Dermatologic and Sensitivity Reactions

If primary irritation or hypersensitivity occurs, discontinue treatment and remove the drug with soap and water.

Alopecia, dermatitis, pruritus, and urticaria have been reported.

Pruritus (caused by an acquired sensitivity to the ectoparasites and their products) frequently persists for one to several weeks following treatment, does not indicate treatment failure, and is not an indication for further treatment. Oral antihistamines and/or topical corticosteroids may be used to help relieve pruritus.

Major Toxicities

CNS Effects

Neurotoxicity, including seizures and deaths, has occurred following repeated or prolonged topical application; however, rare cases reported after a single application. Serious CNS effects have occurred more frequently with lindane lotion than with lindane shampoo.

Infants, children, geriatric patients, patients weighing <50 kg, and patients with certain other skin conditions may be at greater risk of serious neurotoxicity than other individuals.

Dizziness, headache, pain, and paresthesia have been reported.

Use with caution in patients at increased risk of seizure (e.g., patients with HIV infection, a history of head trauma, seizure history, CNS tumor, severe hepatic cirrhosis, excessive alcohol consumption, or concomitant use of agents that lower the seizure threshold [see Specific Drugs under Interactions], or who are undergoing abrupt discontinuance of alcohol or sedatives).

Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Category C.

Lactation

Distributed into milk. Risk of toxicity if lindane were absorbed through the skin in the course of breast-feeding if the mother has applied lindane to the chest area. Discontinue nursing for at least 24 hours following application of lindane and avoid large areas of skin-to-skin contact with the infant while lindane is applied.

Pediatric Use

Pediatric patients have a higher surface-to-volume ratio than adults; increased risk of greater systemic absorption and serious neurotoxicity following topical application in infants and small children. In addition, infants and children may be at greater risk than older individuals because of immature organ systems (e.g., skin, liver).

Use not recommended in infants and children <2 years of age.

Contraindicated in premature neonates, since their skin might be more permeable than full-term neonates and their liver enzymes not sufficiently developed to metabolize lindane.

If used in children, take care to prevent ingestion of the drug as from thumb-sucking (by covering hands and feet). Children must not be allowed to apply lindane without adult supervision.

Geriatric Use

Safety and efficacy not specifically studied in geriatric patients. However, increased risk of serious and potentially fatal neurotoxicity; use with caution.

Immunocompromised Patients

Increased risk of developing Norwegian scabies in immunocompromised individuals, including those with HIV infection; such patients should be managed in consultation with an expert.

Common Adverse Effects

Itching and burning skin, dry skin, skin rash.

Interactions for Lindane

Oils and Oil-based Preparations

Possible pharmacokinetic interaction (increased percutaneous absorption of lindane). Avoid use of oil treatments or oil-based hair preparations immediately before or after applying lindane shampoo; lindane lotion should not be applied simultaneously with any other cream (e.g., conditioner), ointment, or oil.

Specific Drugs

Drug

Interaction

Comments

Antidepressants

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Antipsychotics

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Anticholinesterase agents, centrally active

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Chloroquine sulfate

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Cyclosporine

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Imipenem

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Isoniazid

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Meperidine

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Methocarbamol

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Mycophenolate mofetil

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Penicillins

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Pyrimethamine

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Quinolones

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Radiographic contrast agents

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Tacrolimus

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Theophylline

Possible increased risk of seizures

Use concomitantly with caution

Lindane Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Bioavailability

Slowly and incompletely absorbed through intact skin when applied topically, from the GI tract when ingested, and through the mucous membranes when inhaled.

Following topical application, 5.6–13% (mean 9.3%) of the dose was absorbed systemically. Percutaneous absorption usually is greater when the drug is applied to the face, scalp, axillae, neck, scrotum, or damaged or occluded skin.

Total body application of lindane lotion in infants and children with scabies resulted in mean peak blood concentrations of 28 ng/mL 6 hours after application.

Special Populations

Increased systemic absorption in patients with Norwegian scabies (crusted scabies); in those with other skin disorders (e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis); and in pediatric patients, especially premature infants.

Distribution

Data suggest a rapid distribution phase followed by a longer elimination phase.

Extent

Stored in body fat. Lindane is lipophilic and may accumulate in the placenta.

Elimination

Metabolism

Metabolized by the liver.

Elimination Route

Excreted in urine and feces.

Half-life

Approximately 18 hours.

Stability

Storage

Topical

Shampoo and Lotion

15–30°C.

Actions and Spectrum

  • Toxic to the parasitic arthropod Sarcoptes scabiei (the causative organism of scabies) and their eggs; also toxic to Pediculus humanus var capitis (head louse), Pediculus humanus var corporis (body louse), and Phthirus pubis (pubic or crab louse), and possibly their nits.

  • Resistance to lindane may develop in strains of Pediculus humanus var capitis. Although resistance of Sarcoptes scabiei to the drug has been reported, it has not been conclusively demonstrated.

  • A CNS stimulant when absorbed systemically.

  • Following absorption through the chitinous exoskeleton of arthropods, presumably stimulates the nervous system, resulting in seizures and death.

Advice to Patients

  • Importance of using only as directed.

  • Importance of giving a medication guide for lindane lotion or shampoo to the patient each time the product is dispensed as required by law. The medication guides are important parts of the risk management program for the patient.

  • Importance of instructing patients or their caregivers on the proper use of lindane shampoo or lotion, including the amount to apply, how soon to wash the drug off, and the importance of avoiding repeated application of lindane.

  • Importance of advising patients that pruritus may persist after successful treatment of pediculosis or scabies and is not an indication for further treatment.

  • Risk of potentially fatal seizures. Importance of following recommended application procedures and not exceeding recommended dosages.

  • Importance of informing patients that seizures have been reported in patients receiving lindane following a bath; therefore, patients should wait at least 1 hour after bathing or showering before applying lindane lotion. Patients should wait at least 1 hour after washing their hair before applying lindane shampoo.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breast-feed; necessity of advising women who are breast-feeding of the potential risks and advising them that they should interrupt breast-feeding and express and discard breast milk for at least 24 hours following application of lindane and avoid large areas of skin-to-skin contact with the infant while lindane is applied.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)

Preparations

Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

Lindane

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Topical

Lotion

1%*

Lindane Lotion

Alliant

Shampoo

1%*

Lindane Shampoo

Alliant

AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2021, Selected Revisions September 1, 2007. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

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