Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bad knews--OTC head lice meds losing effectiveness

It's school time--and inevitably the dreaded head lice scares will begin anew any minute.

Boy do I remember back to these--my daughter even did a science fair project on the loathsome insects--and the principal was not amused.

Most of the drugstore products contain lindane, a pyrethroid, based on what sounds like safe marigolds or something.

Problem is, the disgusting bugs are becoming immune to lindane. According to Terri Meinking, MD, co-author of a recent study in Pediatric Dermatology, these over the counter preparations are no longer likely to work.


Home remedies such as petroleum jelly, mayonnaise, and essential oils also have not been shown to be effective and they can cause reactions.

So that leaves the prescription products--malathion, benzyl alcohol, spinosad, and topical ivermectin.

But--the authors say--these need to be used judiciously so they do not suffer the fate of the pyrethroids.

So what should you do when you get the note from the school? I would ask my pediatrician what "judiciously" means.

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