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Brand Name: Ovide

Generic Name: Malathion

Drug Class: Scabicidal Agents; Pediculicides, Topical

What Is Malathion and How Does It Work?

Malathion is a prescription topical (for the skin) anti-parasite medication (pediculicide) used to treat head lice.

Malathion is available under the following different brand names: Ovide.

Dosages of Malathion:

Adult and Pediatric Dosages:


  • .05 %

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Head lice


  • Hair: apply to dry hair, leave in 8-12 hours
  • May repeat if lice are present after 7-9 days


  • Children under 6 years old: safety and efficacy not established
  • Children over 6 years old: Hair: apply to dry hair, leave in 8-12 hours. May repeat if lice are present after 7-9 days


Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Malathion?

Common side effects of malathion include:

  • stinging sensation
  • contact hypersensitivity reaction
  • chemical burns, including second-degre burns
  • skin and scalp irritation
  • pink eye (accidental contact with eyes) (mild)
  • dry hair
  • temporary increase in dandruff

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Malathion?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

Malathion has no known severe interactions with other drugs.

Malathion has no known serious interactions with other drugs.

Malathion has no known moderate interactions with other drugs.

Malathion has no known minor interactions with other drugs.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns or for more information about this medicine.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Malathion?


This medication contains malathion. Do not take Ovide if you are allergic to malathion or any ingredients contained in this drug.

Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


  • Hypersensitivity, neonates (infants younger than 28 days) and infants.

Effects of Drug Abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Malathion?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Malathion?"


  • Malathion is flammable: avoid hair dryer (allow hair to dry naturally), smoking, etc.
  • Chemical burns including second-degree burns reported.
  • Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs.
  • Children should use product under adult supervision.
  • Leave hair uncovered after application.

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Malathion use during pregnancy may be acceptable. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies are not available or animal studies show minor risks and human studies were done and showed no risk.
  • Malathion safety in nursing infants is unknown. Consult your physician if breastfeeding.


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