How Do Scabicidal Agents Work?

Reviewed on 6/8/2021

WHAT ARE SCABICIDAL AGENTS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

Scabicidal agents (also called scabicides) are medications used for microscopic mites called "sarcoptes scabiei." The mites burrow into the top layer of the skin and lay eggs, causing severe itching and tunnel-shaped rash on the skin. Scabies is not an infection, but an infestation. It is a contagious, intensely itchy skin condition caused by a tiny, burrowing mite.

When a person is infested with scabies for the first time, it can take four to six weeks for the skin to react. The most common symptoms are:

  • Intense itching, especially at night
  • A pimple-like rash
  • Scales or blisters
  • Sores caused by scratching

Scabicidal agents target both the mites and their eggs and they work as follows:

  • Scabicidal agents are neurotoxins (substance that alters the structure or function of the nervous system).
  • They bind with the sodium channels that exist in the neurons (cells of nervous system) of the mites. These channels are essential for normal functioning of neurons.
  • Upon binding to the site, they prevent the closing of sodium channels, resulting in continuous sodium influx in the cell.
  • This causes hyperactivity wherein the mite is placed in a condition known as “state of knockdown.”
  • This state is followed by paralysis and eventually the death of the mite.

Follow these instructions for proper use:

  • Clean the affected area with water.
  • Apply the cream/lotion all over the body from the neck down to the feet.
  • Leave the medication for eight to 14 hours (preferably use it at night).
  • You may need to use all the cream in the tube to cover your body.
  • Wash it off in the morning.
  • Even if no one else in the family shows signs of scabies, your doctor will probably recommend they be treated.
  • If the itching is severe, your doctor might prescribe a steroid cream or oral glucocorticoids.
  • Wash your clothes, bedding, towels, and underwear in very hot water and dry them in the dryer on high heat.
  • If you see live mites 14 days or more after treatment, you need to repeat the treatment process.

HOW ARE SCABICIDAL AGENTS USED?

Scabicidal agents are used in conditions such as:

  • Scabies
  • Head, body, and pubic lice
  • Pruritis (itching)
  • Rosacea (a common skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels on your face)

SLIDESHOW

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles, Covid-19 Rashes: Common Adult Skin Diseases See Slideshow

WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF SCABICIDAL AGENTS?

Avoid using scabicides in your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, or vagina. Do not use them on your eyebrows or eyelashes.

Common side effects include:

  • Erythema (redness of the skin or mucous membranes)
  • Pruritis (itching) of skin or scalp
  • Burning and/or stinging
  • Swelling
  • Irritation
  • Warm sensation
  • Numbness/tingling

Other rare side effects include:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

WHAT ARE DRUG NAMES OF SCABICIDAL AGENTS?

Drug names include:                               

References
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/treatment.html

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