Single Topical Ivermectin Head Lice Treatment Very Effective

Ten-minute, at-home ivermectin treatment eliminates lice in nearly all patients by the next day

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A single 10-minute, at-home treatment with topical ivermectin lotion eliminates head lice infestations in nearly all patients by the next day, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

David M. Pariser, M.D., from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, and colleagues randomly assigned 765 patients with head lice (6 months of age or older) to a single application of 0.5 percent ivermectin lotion or vehicle control without nit combing.

The researchers found that a significantly greater percentage of the ivermectin group was free of lice on day two (94.9 versus 31.3 percent), day eight (85.2 versus 20.8 percent), and day 15 (73.8 versus 17.6 percent). Both groups had similar frequency and severity of adverse events.

"In conclusion, ivermectin has a well-established safety profile, on the basis of extensive oral use, and a novel mode of action," Pariser and colleagues conclude. "Topical ivermectin showed high efficacy within 24 hours, with most treated patients remaining louse-free through the final assessment two weeks after a single treatment, without the need for nit combing."

The study was funded by Topaz Pharmaceuticals (now Sanofi Pasteur), which provided the study medication; two authors disclosed financial ties to Topaz Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Pasteur.

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