Oral Ivermectin: A Good Option for Treatment of Head Lice
It's safe and effective.
Pediculosis capitis (head lice) can lead to school absenteeism and, often, to parental anxiety. Treatment usually involves topical therapy that can be time consuming and painful if excoriations are present. Also, pediculicide resistance is increasing and can lead to treatment failure. Ivermectin is effective for treatment of body lice and scabies, but few studies have evaluated the oral preparation for head lice in children.
In an open-label study, investigators recruited 44 children (age range, 6 to 15 years) living in an indigenous community in Mexico with confirmed head lice and treated them with a single dose of oral ivermectin (200 µg/kg). No nit removal was included in the protocol. One week after treatment, no children had adult live lice. Although 90% of children still had nits, most were nonviable. The 18 children with moderate-to-abundant nits received an additional dose of ivermectin; 1 week later, no viable nits were present. No adverse events were reported.
Comment: Ivermectin is not familiar to most pediatricians but has been used successfully and safely for treatment of several helminths. Although this was a small, open-label trial, the results indicate that ivermectin is a safe and effective pediculicide in children older than 5 years. Currently, resistance to ivermectin is not a concern, making the drug a good addition to the treatment options outlined in the American Academy of Pediatrics revised clinical report on the management of head lice (JW Pediatr Adolesc Med Aug 25 2010). Parents might prefer ivermectin because it is easy to use.
Published in Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine December 15, 2010
Ameen M et al. Oral ivermectin for treatment of pediculosis capitis. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2010 Nov; 29:991.
- Medline abstract (Free)
- Oral Ivermectin for prevention
guangyu huang, China, 28 Dec 2010 11:45 AM EST
Specialty: Infectious Disease
Oral Ivermectin is safe and effective for treating head lice children, so can we use it to prventing head lice... [more]
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