In order to establish a safe and reliable treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated scabies, we have treated 60 episodes of scabies in this setting, occurring in 39 patients, with one of the following regimens: (i) topical treatment with benzyl benzoate solution; (ii) single-dose oral treatment with ivermectin alone; and (iii) combination therapy with benzyl benzoate solution and oral ivermectin, employing the same regimens as single-agent therapy. Patients were stratified according to the severity score of the disease and the outcome (eradication, relapse, failure). We found that both benzyl benzoate and ivermectin alone were quite effective in mild to moderate scabies, but they were both associated with an unacceptable rate of relapse and failure in severe or crusted scabies. In contrast, combined treatment produced an optimal rate of success, without significant treatment-related side-effects. Therefore, we consider that combination treatment with benzyl benzoate solution and oral ivermectin is preferable to single-agent therapy in crusted scabies occurring in HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients.
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