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Ivermectin (On the skin)

Ivermectin (eye-ver-MEK-tin)

Treats head lice.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to ivermectin.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Use the medicine on the hair and scalp only. Keep the medicine out of your eyes, nose, mouth, and vagina. If the medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them well with water.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine.
  • Apply the medicine directly to dry hair. Start closest to the scalp and then apply outwards. Completely cover your entire scalp and all of your hair, from roots to tips. You may use the whole tube of medicine, if needed.
  • Leave the medicine on the hair and scalp for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, rinse your hair with warm water only. Dry with a clean towel. Comb hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove any nits (eggs) or nit shells. They look like small white dots.
  • Check everyone in your household 7 days after treatment. If you find any live lice, tell your doctor.
  • Children will need an adult to apply the medicine for them.
  • Throw away any unused medicine. Do not save it to use later.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor how to dispose of the medicine container and any leftover or expired medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have any skin problems.
  • Do not use this medicine more than one time without talking to your doctor first.
  • All members of your household should be checked for lice, because lice are easily spread from one person to another.
  • To prevent spread of lice, dryclean or wash your clothes, hats, bedding, and personal items in hot, soapy water. Dry in a hot dryer.
  • Do not use this medicine for a hair or scalp problem that has not been checked by your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Burning feeling on your skin
  • Dandruff
  • Dry skin
  • Red or irritated eyes

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Last Updated: 11/4/2014
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