Issue: December 2012
Source/Disclosures
Source: Pariser DM. N Engl J Med. 2012;367:1687-1693.
November 05, 2012
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Ivermectin effective for head lice treatment

Issue: December 2012
Source/Disclosures
Source: Pariser DM. N Engl J Med. 2012;367:1687-1693.
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Treatment of head lice infestation with topical ivermectin was well tolerated and efficacious in children aged as young as 6 months, according to new study data.

A single application of 0.5% ivermectin lotion (Sklice, Sanofi-Pasteur) administered at home was more effective than an identical formulation without ivermectin (vehicle control) in eliminating head-louse infestations at 1, 7 and 14 days after treatment.

“We found that 94.9% of ivermectin-treated patients were louse-free 1 day after application,” David M. Pariser, MD, of the department of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and colleagues wrote in the study conclusion.

Seven hundred sixty-five patients completed the two studies from March to July 2010 at eight separate sites per study. Those considered eligible included healthy patients aged at least 6 months with head-louse infestation who agreed not to use any other louse treatment; comb out nits; cut their hair; or chemically treat hair during the study, according to study details. On day 1, a tube of topical ivermectin or vehicle was applied to dry hair, left on for 10 minutes, and then rinsed with water.

The investigators reported that more than 94% of patients who received ivermectin were louse-free on day 2 vs. 31% in the control group. This trend continued for the ivermectin group on day 8 (85.2% vs. 20.8%) and day 15 (73.8% vs. 17.6%; P<.001 for each comparison). The frequency and severity of adverse events were similar in the two groups.

Disclosure: This study was funded by Sanofi-Pasteur. Pariser reports no relevant financial disclosures.