This medication is used to treat head lice, tiny insects that infest and irritate your scalp. Malathion belongs to a class of drugs known as organophosphates. It works by paralyzing and killing lice and their eggs (nits).
Learn all preparation and usage instructions in the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is for use on hair and scalp only. Do not swallow. Be careful to avoid getting malathion in your nose, ears, mouth, vagina, or eyes. Protect eyes during application by keeping them tightly closed and covered with a cloth or towel. If the medication accidentally comes in contact with your eyes, flush them with water to reduce irritation. If irritation continues or you experience vision changes, talk to your doctor.
Apply this medication onto dry hair and scalp. Use enough medication to make the hair and scalp wet, especially the back of the head and neck. Allow the hair to air-dry, uncovered. Wash hands after applying this medication. Leave malathion on the hair and scalp for 8-12 hours. Then shampoo and rinse well, especially the back of the head and neck.
Run a fine-toothed comb (nit comb) through your wet hair to remove the dead lice and lice eggs. The infected person should be checked by another person for lice and nits. Please see the instructions in the product package for more details about nit removal. Consult your doctor if lice are still present after 7-9 days. Repeat treatment with this or other medication may be necessary.
This medication may cause a slight stinging feeling on the scalp. This is normal. However, if skin irritation occurs, wash the scalp and hair immediately, allow the irritation to clear, and try using the medication again. If the irritation returns, consult your doctor.
This medication contains an ingredient that could easily catch fire (flammable). Avoid smoking, being around open flames (e.g., fireplaces, stoves, campfires), or electric heat sources such as heaters, hair dryers, and curlers/hair irons while using malathion.
Do not use malathion on newborns or infants.
Burning, stinging, dry hair, or a temporary increase in dandruff may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Before using malathion, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: asthma, skin infections, skin or scalp problems (e.g., psoriasis, eczema), open sores/wounds on the scalp (e.g., minor cuts, scrapes).
Constant or forceful scratching of the scalp may lead to a bacterial skin infection. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop worsening redness or pus.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. If you are pregnant and applying this medication on another person, handle it with care.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.
Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: breathing problems, muscle weakness/paralysis, shaking, increased sweating/saliva/tears, increased urine, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, headache, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, slow or fast heartbeat.
Do not share this medication unless directed to do so by your doctor.
One application is usually all that is needed. To avoid giving lice to another person or getting them again, all headwear, scarves, coats, and bed linens should be machine-washed with hot water and dried in a dryer (at high setting) for at least 20 minutes, dry cleaned, sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks, or sprayed with a disinfectant that kills lice. Brushes and combs should be soaked in hot water (hotter than 130 degrees F/54 degrees C) for 10 minutes, soaked in alcohol for 1 hour, or thrown away. Furniture and floors should be thoroughly vacuumed.
People who are in close contact with the infected person, such as members of the same household, should also be checked for lice and nits. Treatment may be considered to prevent infestation even if live lice are not found on them.
Store at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light, moisture, and open flame. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet