Scabies pill also works against resistant lice: study

March 10, 2010

Ivermectin, a pill prescribed for the skin disease known as scabies, also gets rid of hair lice that are resistant to conventional lotions, a study published on Thursday says.

Lice affects over 100 million people worldwide each year, especially children of primary school age, according to the paper, appearing in the .

The main treatments are diluted forms of an called permethrin and malathion, but since the 1990s have becoming more and more resistant to these chemicals.

That has left parents with little choice other than to be, literally, nit-pickers -- to go through their children's hair with a fine comb to haul out the parasites.

Ivermectin is a promising alternative, say French researchers who led the study.

They tested it in a trial involving 812 adults and children in 376 households in Britain, France, Ireland and Israel.

Half of the patients were treated with malathion and half with ivermectin, which was administered twice, seven days apart, at a dose of 400 microgrammes per kilo (2.2 pounds).

After two weeks, 95.2 percent of the ivermectin group were lice-free, compared with 85 percent in the malathion group.

"Ivermectin is more effective than the best anti-lice lotion, but it should be reserved for difficult, resistant cases," the study's coordinator, Olivier Chosidow of France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), told AFP.

Over-using the drug could make it succumb to resistance, following the same path as the lotions, he said.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

December 7, 2017
Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ...

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

December 6, 2017
Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill

December 6, 2017
The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first ...

Surgery-related opioid doses can drop dramatically without affecting patients' pain

December 6, 2017
Some surgeons might be able to prescribe a third of opioid painkiller pills that they currently give patients, and not affect their level of post-surgery pain control, a new study suggests.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations

December 4, 2017
People who end up in the hospital due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and published in the December issue of ...

Researchers identify information gaps about opioid antidote naloxone

November 27, 2017
The nation's opioid epidemic kills 91 people a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll would be even higher, were it not for emergency responders' heavy reliance on naloxone as ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.