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Lindane topical Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to lindane topical: topical cream, topical lotion, topical shampoo

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by lindane topical. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Moderate

If any of the following side effects occur while taking lindane topical, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • dizziness, clumsiness, or unsteadiness
  • fast heartbeat
  • muscle cramps
  • nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
  • vomiting
  • skin irritation not present before use of lindane
  • skin rash

Side Effects: Post Treatment

After you stop taking this drug, it is possible that you may still experience side effects that need medical attention. If you notice any of the following side effects check with your doctor immediately:

Serious side effects have resulted in patients using lindane. Sometime it has occurred even when used according to the labeled directions. Serious side effects have been reported following lindane use with repeat or prolonged use, but also in rare cases following a single application. You should discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to lindane topical: topical liquid, topical lotion, topical shampoo

Nervous system

Seizures reported with topical lindane use for scabies have generally followed its inappropriate use. Such uses include application of the lotion after a bath to hydrated skin, repeated applications, or prolonged use. Many of the patients who have experienced seizures following lindane use are infants and small children.

Pseudotumor cerebri has been reported following long-term exposure to a lindane veterinary product.[Ref]

Nervous system side effects have included dizziness, paresthesias, headache, disorientation, seizures, and death. Seizures have occurred after both improper and proper use.[Ref]


Many reports of aplastic anemia occurred in the 1950s and 60s during which time lindane vaporizers were used in the home. These devices heated lindane pellets and continuously released a vapor into the air.[Ref]

Hematologic abnormalities, including aplastic anemia, have been reported anecdotally in patients who were exposed to lindane pesticide or veterinarian products. At least two patients have experienced aplastic anemia following repeated, long-term use (over three to six weeks) of topical lindane for the treatment of scabies.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included alopecia, dermatitis, contact dermatitis, pruritus, and urticaria.[Ref]


1. Solomon LM, Fahrner L, West DP "Gamma benzene hexachloride toxicity: a review." Arch Dermatol 113 (1977): 353-7

2. Solomon BA, Haut SR, Carr EM, Shalita AR "Neurotoxic reaction to lindane in an HIV-seropositive patient: an old medication's new problem." J Fam Pract 40 (1995): 291-6

3. "Product Information. Kwell (lindane)." Reed and Carnrick, Jersey City, NJ.

4. Pramanik AK, Hansen RC "Transcutaneous gamma benzene hexachloride absorption and toxicity in infants and children." Arch Dermatol 115 (1979): 1224-5

5. Matsuoka LY "Convulsions following application of gamma benzene hexachloride." J Am Acad Dermatol 5 (1981): 98-9

6. Telch J, Jarvis DA "Acute intoxication with lindane (gamma benzene hexachloride)." Can Med Assoc J 126 (1982): 662-3

7. Rasmussen JE "The problem of lindane." J Am Acad Dermatol 5 (1981): 507-16

8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration "FDA Public Health Advisory: safety of topical lindane products for the treatment of scabies and lice. Available from: URL:" ([2003 Mar]):

9. Tenenbein M "Seizures after lindane therapy." J Am Geriatr Soc 39 (1991): 394-5

10. Verderber L, Lavin P, Wesley R "Pseudotumour cerebri and chronic benzene hexachloride (lindane) exposure." J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 54 (1991): 1123

11. Berry DH, Brewster MA, Watson R, Neuberg RW "Untoward effects associated with lindane abuse." Am J Dis Child 141 (1987): 125-6

12. "Benzyl alcohol lotion for head lice." Med Lett Drugs Ther 51 (2009): 57-8

13. West I "Lindane and hematologic reactions." Arch Environ Health 15 (1967): 97-101

14. Friedman SJ "Lindane neurotoxic reaction in nonbullous congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma." Arch Dermatol 123 (1987): 1056-8

15. Rauch AE, Kowalsky SF, Lesar TS, Sauerbier GA, Burkart PT, Scharfman WB "Lindane (Kwell)-induced aplastic anemia." Arch Intern Med 150 (1990): 2393-5

16. Morgan DP, Roberts RJ, Walter AW, Stockdale EM "Anemia associated with exposure to lindane." Arch Environ Health 35 (1980): 307-10

Not all side effects for lindane topical may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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