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Molecule Description

Permethrin is a topical (applied on skin surface) medicine used to treat head lice and scabies. It belongs to a class of medications known as 'pyrethroids' and is also active against ticks, fleas, mites and other similar insects.
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Uses of Permethrin

  • Infections of head louse (pediculus humanus capitis)
  • Scabies (skin itching and rashes caused by mites)

Contraindications of Permethrin

When should one not use Permethrin

In patients with known allergic reaction to Permethrin.

Side effects of Permethrin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Skin and scalp irritation such as itching, swelling, stinging, mild burning, tingling, numbness and redness
  • Any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, especially of the face/ tongue/ throat, severe dizziness, trouble breathing (rare, but serious)

Precautions and Warnings of Permethrin


Can I take Permethrin during pregnancy?
Data available on usage of Permethrin in pregnant women is inadequate. Pregnant women are advised to use Permethrin only if it is necessary and alternatives are not available.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Permethrin while breastfeeding?
It is unknown if Permethrin passes into breast milk, but it is advisable not to use the medicine while breastfeeding. Do not decide on your own. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.


Can I drive if I have consumed Permethrin?
As Permethrin is a topical cream rinse used for external application, it is unlikely to affect the ability to drive.


Can I consume alcohol with Permethrin?
Interaction with alcohol is not known but it is advised not to drink too much alcohol while on Permethrin.

Mode of Action of Permethrin

How Does It Work?

This medicine works by attacking the nervous system of lice and paralyzing them. It also kills head lice and their eggs attached to your scalp. It can be used for all age groups starting from 6 months of age.
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Interactions of Permethrin

Interactions with other medicines

This medicine may interact with Cortisol.

Interactions with food items

No specific food interactions are available.

Dietary Restrictions of Permethrin

  • You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to it
  • Permethrin is for external use so do not consume it as it may be life-threatening
  • Avoid contact with eyes, mouth and tongue

Dosage of Permethrin


As it is a topical cream rinse, overdose is not expected. But if you apply the cream more times than necessary, allergic reactions such as rashes, itching, redness may develop. Call your doctor if the effects do not subside.
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Missed a Dose

Permethrin cream rinse comes in a container and should be used wholly once opened. If you are prescribed to use again, you need to buy a new box.

Content Details


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Are there any special precautions or warnings for using Permethrin?

A: You should not use Permethrin if you are allergic to it. Permethrin is for external use only so do not consume it as it may be life-threatening. Avoid contact with eyes, mouth and tongue.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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