Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available



  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Shampoo
  • Lice
  • Scabies
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Treats lice and scabies.

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Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

Nix (Permethrin) works great, but make sure to read the directions carefully before using it.


  • Nix (Permethrin) comes with a kit that contains a metal lice comb, disposable gloves, and a salon cape.
  • A single application is usually sufficient to get rid of head lice.
  • Nix (Permethrin) stays in the hair for 10 days, even after showering with a conditioner-free shampoo.
  • Nix (Permethrin) is designed to leave the hair easy to comb after using.


  • Can't be used on children under 2 months of age.
  • Can't be used near the eyes, nose, vagina, or on eyebrows or eyelashes.
  • Scalp itching or redness can occur.
  • You can't use it if you're allergic to ragweed since it can cause difficulty breathing or an asthma attack.
  • Can't use conditioner for a week after using Nix (Permethrin).

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What to expect when you take Nix (Permethrin)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Inspect all household members for lice and eggs (nits) with a magnifying glass in bright light. Use a comb to lift and part the hair. Unlike dandruff, nits stick to hair.
  • Don't use a shampoo that contains a conditioner or use a conditioner alone since it interacts with Nix (Permethrin).
  • Begin to apply Nix (Permethrin) behind the ears and at the back of the neck. Leave it in for only 10 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Protect your eyes with a washcloth or towel.
  • If live lice are seen 7 days or more after the first treatment, then a second treatment should be given.
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Side effects for Nix (Permethrin)

From clinical trials of Nix / Scabies (5%) 

  • Mild and temporary burning and stingingMild and temporary burning and stinging10% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo
  • ItchingItching7% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo
  • RednessRedness2% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo
  • NumbnessNumbness2% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo
  • TinglingTingling2% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo
  • RashRash2% for Permethrin vs.0% for placebo

Risks and Warnings for Nix (Permethrin)

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  • Nix (Permethrin) can cause head itching. This is usually a consequence of the head lice infestation itself, but can be temporarily worsened following treatment with Nix (Permethrin). Other reactions which are less frequent include: stinging/burning, tingling, numbness or discomfort, redness, and swelling or rash of the scalp. All these reactions are mild and temporary.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Nix (Permethrin)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe