Latest, Safer Treatment for Head Lice
Dr. Kangos' Blogs from 2012
At a recent conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Nicole Rogers presented the effectiveness of a new chemical treatment derived from a naturally-occurring soil bacteria. The name is likely familiar to naturalists and home gardeners: Spinosad, brand name Natroba. It has been used extensively to treat various insect infestations in plants, flowers and vegetable gardens. It targets specific nerve-communication pathways found only in insects, suggesting less toxicity in humans.
Its approval by the FDA allows for a much easier treatment procedure. The nits (sacs that contain the eggs) are killed very effectively (ovicidal) and thus it appears that combing the nits out of the hair will not be necessary. Nit removal has been difficult for many parents and children, sometimes necessitating cutting the hair back to a significant degree. The other usual cleaning and disinfecting measures for clothing, linens and playthings are still required.
The other prescription treatments are: Malathion lotion (Ovide) and benzyl alcohol lotion (Ulesfia). These products eliminate live lice and are effective at eliminating the nits (eggs or ova) to varying degrees. Directions for proper use should be discussed, including the possible need for re-treatment in 9-10 days, to retreat any missed eggs and to prevent newly hatched lice from producing new eggs.
Over the counter treatments are pediculicidal (kill live lice) but are not ovicidal (unable to kill eggs). They are:
Pyrethrins (brands Rid, Triple X, Pronto and others) derived from the chrysanthemum flower and Permethrin lotion (brand Nix) a synthetic compound similar to the naturally occurring pyrethrin.
Re-treatment is always required in 9-10 days for these OTC products.