"Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as the sensation of itch.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Six carcinogenicity bioassays were evaluated with permethrin, three each in rats and mice. No tumorigenicity was seen in the rat studies. However, species-specific increases in pulmonary adenomas, a common benign tumor of mice of high spontaneous background incidence, were seen in the three mouse studies. In one of these studies there was an increased incidence of pulmonary alveolar-cell carcinomas and benign liver adenomas only in female mice when permethrin was given in their food at a concentration of 5000 ppm. Mutagenicity assays, which give useful correlative data for interpreting results from carcinogenicity bioassays in rodents, were negative. Permethrin showed no evidence of mutagenic potential in a battery ofin vitro and in vivo genetic toxicity studies. Permethrin did not have any adverse effect on reproductive function at a dose of 180 mg/kg/day orally in a three-generation rat study.
Pregnancy Category B: Reproduction studies have been performed in mice, rats, and rabbits (200 to 400 mg/kg/day orally) and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to permethrin. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the evidence for tumorigenic potential of permethrin in animal studies, consideration should be given to discontinuing nursing temporarily or withholding the drug while the mother is nursing.
ELIMITE® (permethrin) 5% Cream is safe and effective in pediatric patients two months of age and older. Safety and effectiveness in infants less than two months of age have not been established.
Clinical studies of ELIMITE® (permethrin) 5% Cream did not identify sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to allow a definitive statement regarding whether elderly subjects respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney. However, since topical permethrin is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine as inactive metabolites, there does not appear to be an increased risk of toxic reactions in patients with impaired renal function when used as labeled.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/30/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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