Management of Head Louse Infestations in the United States – A Literature Review

Created on 16.09.16

A review providing the relevant information on infestation treatments available in the United States has revealed that there is a high risk of failure of over-the-counter treatments in eliminating head lice.

A review by Koch published in the September 2016 Journal of Pediatric Dermatology was based on three major biometric database searches which revealed that the prescription products shown to be safe and effective with a single application, without nit combing are tropical ivermectin, malathion, and spinosad, whereas benzyl alcohol requires two applications.

The findings suggest that there is a decline in the effectiveness of permethrin and synergized pyrethrins and that home remedies such as mayonnaise and essential oils do not demonstrate safe or effective treatment.

The review highlights the need for health care provider recognition of the limitations of current treatments in eliminating head louse infestations and the judicious use of treatments which remain effective. 

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