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ISMP Medication Safety Alert


COMMON MISUSE OF SCABIES/LICE MEDICATION CAN BE DANGEROUS

Though typically safe and effective when used according to directions, misuse of various medications used to treat scabies and lice is common. This misuse - which includes using more of a medication, using it more often, or using it for a longer time than that which the doctor has ordered - can be dangerous. Overuse, especially for infants, can result in toxic effects in the central nervous system, such seizures. Products that are sometimes misused include well-known brand names like Kwildane®, Scabene®, and Thionex®. The creams and lotions are routinely used to treat scabies. Shampoos are typically used to treat lice. All contain the generic drug lindane - a drug where more is definitely not better.

Here's how the misuse usually occurs. Sometimes there's still itching even after successful treatment, because of normal, lingering inflammation. Yet well-meaning parents often believe this is still a symptom of infestation and continue medicating beyond the recommended amount. Also, parents sometimes use too much of the product in the first place, not realizing that a medicated cream, lotion, or shampoo should be measured just as carefully as other kinds of medication.

You should always receive special instructions when you get lindane, in any of its forms, from your pharmacy or your doctor. Lindane-based products, like all medications, are powerful substances. Read and follow directions carefully. As usual, store the medication out of the reach of children.

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