Stromectol, Ulesfia and Other Optional Head Lice Treatment
Children are usually prone to head lice invasion since they interact closely with their peers. While, head lice may not be a serious matter. These can spread easily from a family member to the next. Head lice infestation can be irritating and unhygienic. There are many effective home made remedies for head lice. However, some people choose to rely on optional head lice cures. Optional head lice cures refer to medicated shampoos, lotions, ointments and tablets. The following are seven of the most known optional head lice treatment ranging from the least to the highly recommended.
- Ivermectin (Stromectol) tablet
Stromectol as ivermectin is a prescription anthelmintic (worm) drug indicated for the parasitic worms nematodes Strongyloides and Onchocerca. It is available in 3mg (3000 mcg) tablet. Stromectol is manufactured by MSD BV and distributed by Merck & Co Inc.
Stromectol has been proven as effective to resistant lice invasions. It is considered as a second line treatment to permethrin (Kwell). However, such use remains unapproved by the FDA.
Possible side effects: Tachycardia has been reported in 200 mcg dose.
Safety: Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. Stromectol has not been proven safe for use in children below five years old. Caution should be observed in individuals with liver, kidney and heart problems.
Direction for use: 200 mcg tablet once a day for seven to ten days.
- Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion
Cetaphil Cleansing lotion (Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) is manufactured by Galderma. It is available in bottles of 60 and 250 ml and can be bought as an OTC product. It contains stearyl alcohol, butylparaben, cetyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, Na lauryl sulfate and purified water. Generally, Cetaphil is indicated as a skin cleanser. Interestingly, it can also be a pediculocide. There have been studies performed with Cetaphil as a treatment for head lice. Cetaphil cleansing lotion kills lice by suffocation. But like Stromectol, Cetaphil cleansing lotion is not approved by the FDA for head lice invasion.
Safety: Avoid contact with eyes.
Direction for use: Apply the lotion thoroughly the hair and scalp. Comb out the excess lotion then dry it using a blow dryer. Leave the dried lotion on the scalp for 8 hours then shampoo it all out. Rinse the hair thoroughly then remove the nits using a finely toothed comb. Repeat the treatment weekly as necessary.
- United Home Sulfur ointment
Manufactured by Amherst Lab for United Home, non- prescription Sulfur (10%) ointment is available in 15 and 30 grams tubes. It is also used for the treatment of scabies, acne, eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, ringworm infection. As sulfur, it is an effective pediculocide. However with its ointment form, United Home Sulfur ointment has the least convenience for use compared to a lotion or a shampoo.
Safety: Avoid contact with eyes and prolonged use.
Direction for use: Apply Sulfur ointment to the scalp and hair once a day for three days.
- Citronella (Lyecare) shampoo
Lyecare is manufactured by Swiss Pharma Research labs Inc. It is a shampoo with a rich green color and a distinctive smell available in 10ml sachet. As a citronella, Lyecare is a shampoo made from the oil extracts of Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus grasses.
Citronella had been known for its smell that is unlikable for insects. It is an effective mosquito, tick, flea and head lice repellent.
Possible side effects: skin irritation and dermatitis
Safety: Avoid contact with eyes. Citronella oil is not recommended for children below 3 years old.
Direction for use: Apply an adequate amount of Lyecare to the scalp and hair. Rinse thoroughly. Once the hair is dried, the lice and the nits or eggs should be removed by a finely toothed comb. Lyecare shampoo should only be used two times a week.
- Permethrin (Kwell) shampoo
Permethrin Kwell is a pyrethroid that posess a high insecticidal activity with low human toxicity. As a permethrin, it is synthezided from pyrethrin. Non-prescription, Kwell shampoo is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and available in shampoos of 10 mg/mL, 30 mL and 60 mL.
Possible side effects: scalp irritation.
Safety: Avoid contact with eyes. Do not use on open scalp wounds. Kwell shampoo is not for recommended for prolonged or continuous use.
Direction for use: Apply enough shampoo to cover the hair and scalp. Leave it on for 10 min. Rinse thoroughly with water. Use a finely toothed comb to remove nits and dead lice. Examine the scalp for the eggs after 7-10 days and re-apply if eggs are still present within one cm from the scalp.
- Pyrethrin (Licealiz) shampoo
Licealiz as a pyrethrin, possess a potent insecticidal activity. It is obtained from chrysanthemum flowers. In large doses pyrethrin can kill insects but can only be a repellant in small doses. Fortunately, OTC drug Licealiz contains only a sufficient amount of pyrethrin, enough for the treatment and prevention of lice and their eggs. It is manufactured by Lamoyan and available in 10 sachet and 60 ml bottle.
Safety: Do not use on open scalp wounds. Avoid contact with eyes.
Direction for use: Apply enough Licealiz shampoo to cover the hair and scalp. Massage, then leave shampoo on hair for 10 min. Rinse thoroughly. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and eggs. Use Licealiz twice a week for 2 weeks to treat head lice and once a week to prevent recurrence.
- Benzyl alcohol 5% (Ulesfia) lotion
Prescription drug, Ulesfia lotion is a trademark of Shionogi Inc. It is available in 8 oz bottle and eliminates the lice by suffocation. Although Ulesfia doesn’t kill the eggs, it is safe for use in children from six months and older.
Possible side effects: skin, scalp and eye irritation.
Safety: Contact with eyes should be avoided. Ulesfia as a benzyl alcohol is not advised for infants less than one month for risks of gasping syndrome.
Direction for use: Apply an adequate amount of Ulesfia lotion to dry hair to completely saturate the scalp and hair; leave on for 10 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse off with water. Repeat treatment after 7 days.
The bottom line
While Cetaphil Cleansing lotion and Ivermectin Stromectol have been proven efficient, these are not FDA approved. More to this, Stromectol has a higher risk for untoward reactions since it is taken orally. United Home Sulfur has the least convenience for use because of its ointment form. While shampoos are the best choice for head lice treatment, lotions are also preferred for relief as they give better skin coverage than creams or ointments.
Citronella maybe from a natural source but it can only repel head lice. In addition, citronella is not advised for children under 3 years old. Kwell and Licealiz have no contraindication in children and in pregnant women. However, Kwell and Licealiz have been documented for lice resistance.
Finally, Ulesfia is probably the most recommendable among the seven optional head lice treatments. It is approved by the FDA for head lice. It is not contraindicated in pregnant women and in infants from 6 months. And since, Ulesfia is not an insecticide like Kwell or Licealiz, it won’t develop lice resistance.
© Phoenix Montoya @ August 8, 2011
- Lyecare leaflet
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