Head lice death via cuticle disruption: new study

Created on 01.11.12

A new study has been published investigating the effectiveness of a combination of isopropyl myristate and cyclomethicone D5 in head lice treatment via a non-traditional physical mechanism of action, thus avoiding issues of genetic resistance to treatment.

The study by Barnett et al., published in the Sepember 2012 edition of BMC Dermatology, investigates the effect of the isopropyl myristate/cyclomethicone D5 (IPM/D5) combination on disruption of the waxy cuticle of the head lice.

The IPM/D5 combination has been shown to kill adult head lice after 10 minutes of contact with the solution. The study used gas-chromatography to investigate the method by which pediculidical activity occurs.

Ten head lice were mixed with a small amount of the solvent combination for 10 minutes and then analysed. The analysis demonstrated that the IPM/D5 mixture contained precisely the kinds of hydrocarbons previously identified in the waxy cuticle of the head louse.

This indicates that the IPM/D5 solution brings on rapid death by dehydration of the head louse according to a physical, rather than a chemical, method of action. It therefore avoids issues of resistance which can occur in chemical treatments.

Full details of the experiments and analyses can be found here






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