malathion topical (generic name)

It skin lotion is used to treat lice of the hair and scalp
(mal uh THAHY on)
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What is this medicine?

MALATHION (mal uh THAHY on) skin lotion is used to treat lice of the hair and scalp. It acts by destroying the lice and their eggs.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:
  • asthma
  • rashes or open sores on the skin
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to malathion, alcohol, pine or pine scented products, veterinary or household insecticides, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • breast feeding
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use only. It is a poison if it is swallowed. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. If you are applying this medicine to another person, wear disposable gloves to protect yourself from lice infestation. Shake well. Apply to dry hair. Leave on for 8 to 12 hours, rinse, and wash with a non-medicated shampoo to remove dead lice. Keep this lotion away from your eyes. If you accidentally get some in your eyes, rinse your eyes with cool water right away. Seek medical help if the eyes are hurting. Allow hair to dry naturally. This medicine contains alcohol which is flammable. Do not use hair dryers or curling irons. Do not smoke or go near open flames or electric heat sources. Keep hair uncovered. Comb each small section of hair with a clean, fine toothed comb to remove any leftover nits (eggs) or nit shells. Do not use this medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. While this medicine may be prescribed for children as young as 6 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply. This medicine is normally used as a single dose.

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected. Do not use any other skin products on the affected area without asking your doctor or health care professional.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This medicine is used as a single application treatment. Itching may occur for several days after treatment. This does not mean that the treatment has failed. If live lice are observed in 7 to 9 days after initial application, a second treatment may be needed. Contact your doctor before applying a second treatment.

If skin irritation occurs, wash scalp and hair immediately. If the irritation clears, the lotion may be reapplied. If irritation recurs or continues, consult your doctor or health care professional. Slight stinging sensations may occur while using this lotion.

All recently worn clothing, underwear, pajamas, used sheets, pillowcases, and towels should be washed in very hot water or dry-cleaned. Close personal contact can spread the infestation. Family members and sexual contacts may also require treatment for lice.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or other health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • redness or irritation of the eyes
  • severe skin irritation or burning

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • itching that continues beyond 7 days
  • mild skin irritation
  • redness of the scalp
  • stinging of the scalp
  • tingling sensation

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Last Updated: December 15, 2011
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