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March 11th, 2010
Get Rid of Stubborn Head Lice with Pill, not Lotion

For children who have stubborn head lice, new research has discovered that the oral prescription drug ivermectin is more effective for treatment than the standard topical cream, malathion.

In America, around 6 million to 12 million schoolchildren are diagnosed with head lice each year. As many as 100 million people worldwide are infested with head lice each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A study was published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine revealing that 95% of children treated with ivermectin had no lice after two weeks compared to 85% of children who got rid of their lice using topical cream. Researchers suggested that “ivermectin may be a good alternative to malathion when topical insecticide resistance is suspected.”

“In America, around 6 million to 12 million schoolchildren are diagnosed with head lice each year. Worldwide, as many as 100 million people.”

However, excessive treatment with ivermectin may result in lice developing a resistance to the medication. Researchers thus cautioned that ivermectin shouldn’t be used as a first option for treatment, but should instead be used for treatment-resistant lice.

Ivermectin, a prescription anti-parasitic drug, is also prescribed to treat similar parasite infestations, such as mites. A previous study found that lower doses of ivermectin, 200 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, was only effective at killing lice in 25% of people.

The most recent study wanted to assess the effectiveness of ivermectin at a higher dose, 400 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, as well as compare it to the standard cream treatment for stubborn lice.

Research was done on 812 children, at the average age of 10, who were either given ivermectin or the malathion lotion. No other lice treatments was allowed in the study, not even combing lice eggs from the hair.

After two weeks, the researchers examined the children for evidence of lice. As stated before, they found that 95% of those taking ivermectin were lice-free, while only 85% of those treated with malathion were lice-free.

“Ivermectin looks like another tool against head lice, but there are still a number of questions to be answered,” says Dr. Mark Diamond, a pediatrician affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “The risk of side effects isn’t totally clear, and a systemic drug vs. a topical medication is clearly a change in process. Plus, I have no idea of the cost.”

Diamond added that ivermectin may be at an advantage because it is much easier to administer, “lotions and shampoos are messy, and if all other factors are equal, parents might prefer an oral medication.”

While these medications are useful in getting rid of hart-to-treat lice, the good news is that head lice infection is not usually a serious issue. Most children can be treated with over-the-counter medications and careful combing.

For more information about treating head lice and other parasitic infestations, visit http://www.orderonlinedrugs.com

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