Ivermectin

Ivermectin kills head lice with one application. Be careful not to get ivermectin into your eyes.

Ivermectin Overview

Updated: 

Ivermectin lotion is a no-comb,10-minute prescription treatment used to treat head lice infestations in adults and children 6 months of age and older.

Ivermectin is also available in tablet form. It is a prescription medication used to treat two types of roundworm parasites. It is usually taken as a single dose on an empty stomach with water.

Ivermectin is also available in a topical cream that is used to treat rosacea.

Ivermectin belongs to a group of drugs called antihelmintics. It works by killing the target parasite.

Common side effects of ivermectin lotion include eye redness and irritation, dandruff, and dry skin.

Common side effects of ivermectin tablets include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Patient Ratings for Ivermectin

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What are you taking Ivermectin for?

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  • Other
  • Ascariasis
  • Elephantiasis
  • Enterobiasis
  • Lice Infestations
  • Mansonelliasis
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Scabies
  • Strongyloidiasis
  • Trichuriasis

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  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
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Ivermectin Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Ivermectin

Ivermectin lotion is a prescription medication used to treat head lice infestations in adults and children 6 months of age and older.

The ivermectin tablet is a prescription medication used to treat strongyloidiasis (threadworm; infection with a type of roundworm that enters the body through the skin, moves through the airways and lives in the intestines) and to control onchocerciasis (river blindness; infection with a type of roundworm that may cause rash, bumps under the skin, and vision problems including vision loss or blindness).

Ivermectin cream is used for the treatment of inflammatory lesions, or bumps and pimples, of rosacea. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Ivermectin Brand Names

Ivermectin Drug Class

Ivermectin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Ivermectin

Oral:

The most common side effects of ivermectin tablets include:

  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain or bloating
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • weakness
  • sleepiness
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • chest discomfort

Topical:

The most common side effects of ivermectin lotion include:

  • eye redness or soreness
  • eye irritation
  • dandruff
  • dry skin
  • burning sensation of the skin

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of ivermection. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Ivermectin Interactions

Oral:

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • medications for anxiety
  • mental illness or seizures
  • muscle relaxants
  • sedatives
  • sleeping pills
  • tranquilizers

This is not a complete list of all drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Topical:

Ivermectin lotion is unlikely to affect the actions of other medications you are taking, and other medications are unlikely to affect ivermectin lotion.

No drug interactions have been identified by the manufacturer. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Ivermectin Precautions

Oral:

Serious side effects have been reported with this medication, and certain precautions should be followed:

  • fever
  • blistering or peeling skin
  • rash
  • hives
  • itching

If treating specifically for the parasite loa loa (endemic in West or Central Africa), you may also experience certain serious adverse effects that should be addressed immediately if they occur. These effects have been seen very rarely following the use of ivermectin.

  • swelling of the eyes, face, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • joint pain and swelling
  • painful and swollen glands of the neck, armpit or groin
  • rapid heartbeat
  • eye pain, redness, or tearing
  • swelling of the eye or eyelids
  • abnormal sensation in the eyes

Do not use ivermectin tablets if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Ivermectin tablets can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Topical:

 Certain precautions should be followed when using ivermectin lotion:

  • Ivermectin lotion is for use on scalp hair and scalp only. Do not get ivermectin lotion in your eyes, mouth, or vagina.

Ivermectin Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of ivermectin lotion and tablets, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet.

Inform MD

Oral:

Before taking ivermectin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ivermectin or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had meningitis, human African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness; an infection that is spread by the bite of the tsetse fly in certain African countries), or conditions that affect your immune system, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant during your treatment with ivermectin, call your doctor.
  • ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking ivermectin.
  • if you have had loiasis (Loa loa infection with a type of worm that causes skin and eye problems) or if you have ever lived in or traveled to areas of West or Central Africa where loiasis is common.

Topical:

Before using ivermectin lotion, tell your healthcare provider if you or your child:

  • have any skin conditions or sensitivities
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
  • are taking any prescription and/or nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products

Ivermectin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Ivermectin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Ivermectin has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from ivermectin, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.

Ivermectin Usage

Oral:

  • Ivermectin comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken as a single dose on an empty stomach with water. If you are taking ivermectin to treat onchocerciasis, additional doses 3, 6, or 12 months later may be necessary to control your infection. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take ivermectin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you are taking ivermectin to treat strongyloidiasis, you will need to have a stool exam at least three times during the first 3 months after your treatment to see if your infection has cleared. If your infection has not cleared, your doctor will probably prescribe additional doses of ivermectin.
  • Ivermectin tablets are usually taken as a single dose. Tell your doctor if you do not take your medication.

Topical:

  • Use ivermection lotion exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the treatment that is right for you. Do not change your treatment unless you talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Use ivermection lotion when your hair is dry.
  • It is important to use enough ivermection lotion to completely coat all of your hair and scalp. Leave lotion on your hair and scalp for a full 10 minutes.
  • You need to completely cover all the scalp and hair with lotion.
  • Children will need an adult to apply ivermection lotion for them.
  • Do not swallow ivermection lotion. If swallowed, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
  • Do not get ivermection lotion into your eyes. If ivermection lotion gets in your eye, gently flush with water.
  • Wash your hands after applying ivermection lotion.

When you complete your dose of ivermection lotion, do not use ivermection lotion again without talking to your healthcare provider first.

Before you use ivermection lotion, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about the right way to use ivermection lotion.

  • Your hair and scalp must be dry before applying ivermection lotion.
  • Use the top of cap to break the tamper seal on the tube.
  • Apply ivermection lotion directly to dry hair and scalp.
  • Completely cover your scalp and hair closest to the scalp first, and then apply outwards towards the ends of your hair.
  • Rub ivermection lotion throughout hair.
  • It is important to completely cover your entire head so that all lice and eggs are exposed to the lotion. Be sure that each hair is coated from the scalp to the tip.
  • Use up to 1 entire tube (4 oz) to completely cover hair and scalp.
  • Allow ivermection lotion to stay on your hair and scalp for 10 minutes after it has been applied. Use a timer or clock. Start timing after you have completely covered your hair and scalp with ivermection lotion.
  • After 10 minutes, completely rinse ivermection lotion from your hair and scalp using only water.
  • You or anyone who helps you apply ivermection lotion should wash their hands after application.
  • Do not use ivermection lotion again without talking to your healthcare provider first.

To help prevent the spread of lice from one person to another, here are some steps you can take:

  • Avoid direct head-to-head contact with anyone known to have live, crawling lice.
  • Do not share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bandannas, ribbons, barrettes, hair bands, towels, helmets, or other hair-related personal items with anyone else, whether they have lice or not.
  • Avoid sleepovers and slumber parties during lice outbreaks. Lice can live in bedding, pillows, and carpets that have recently been used by someone with lice.
  • After finishing treatment with lice medicine, check everyone in your family for lice after one week. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about treatments for those who have lice.
  • Machine wash any bedding and clothing used by anyone having lice. Machine wash at high temperatures (150°F) and tumble in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.

Ivermectin Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

Oral:

For the treatment of strongyloidiasis (threadworm):

 

Body Weight (in kg)Number of 3-mg Stromectol (ivermectin) Tablets
15-241 tablet
25-35

2 tablets

36-50

3 tablets

51-654 tablets
66-795 tablets
≥ 80200 micrograms/kilogram

For the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness):

Body weight (in kg)Number of 3-mg Stromectol (ivermectin) Tablets
15-251 tablet
26-44

2 tablets

45-643 tablets
65-844 tablets
≥ 85150 mcg/kg

 

Topical:

  • Apply ivermectin lotion to dry hair in an amount sufficient (up to 1 tube) to thoroughly coat the hair and scalp.

Ivermectin Overdose

Oral:

If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Topical:

If you apply too much ivermectin lotion to your scalp, you are not likely to experience severe side effects. However, if this medication in taken by mouth, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

Oral:

  • Store tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
  • Keep ivermectin tablets and all medicines out of reach of children.

Topical:

  • Store ivermectin lotion at room temperature between 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C).
  • Do not freeze ivermectin lotion.
  • Safely throw away any unused ivermectin lotion.
  • Keep ivermectin lotion and all medicines out of reach of children.