The efficacy of oral ivermectin vs. sulfur 10% ointment for the treatment of scabies
Human scabies is caused by an infection of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). There are different medications for the treatment of scabies. This study aimed at comparing the efficacy and safety of oral ivermectin vs. sulfur 10% ointment for the treatment of scabies. In total, 420 patients with scabies were enrolled, and randomized into two groups: the first group received a single dose of oral ivermectin 200 μg/kg body weight, and the second group received sulfur 10% ointment and were told to apply this for three successive days. Treatment was evaluated at intervals of 2 and 4 weeks, and if there was treatment failure at the 2-week follow-up, treatment was repeated. A single dose of ivermectin provided a cure rate of 61.9% at the 2-week follow-up, which increased to 78.5% at the 4-week follow-up after repeating the treatment. Treatment with single applications of sulfur 10% ointment was effective in 45.2% of patients at the 2-week follow-up, which increased to 59.5% at the 4-week follow-up after this treatment was repeated. A single dose of ivermectin was as effective as single applications of sulfur 10% ointment at the 2-week follow-up. After repeating the treatment, ivermectin was superior to sulfur 10% ointment at the 4-week follow up. The delay in clinical response with ivermectin suggests that it may not be effective against all the stages in the life cycle of the parasite.
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