Published On: Thu, Nov 1st, 2012

Sanofi Pasteur’s ‘Sklice’ more effective than nit combing at eliminating head lice according to study

Pediculus humanus capitis

Pediculus humanus capitis (head louse) Image/CDC

A single, 10-minute, at-home application of ivermectin was more effective than vehicle control (nit combing) in eliminating head-louse infestations at 1, 7, and 14 days after treatment, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report published Nov. 1.

The lotion is called “Sklice”, and is made by Sanofi Pasteur, which paid for the study.

In two multistate studies, Eastern Virginia Medical School researchers compared a single application of Sklice lotion with vehicle control for the elimination of infestations without nit combing in patients 6 months of age or older. A tube of topical ivermectin or vehicle control was dispensed on day 1, to be applied to dry hair, left for 10 minutes, then rinsed with water. The primary end point was the percentage of index patients (youngest household member with ≥3 live lice) in the intention-to-treat population who were louse-free 1 day after treatment (day 2) and remained so through days 8 and 15.

What the studies found was of the more than 750 patients studied,  significantly more patients receiving ivermectin than patients receiving vehicle control were louse-free at each stage of the study. On day 2 (94.9% vs. 31.3%), day 8 (85.2% vs. 20.8%), and day 15 (73.8% vs. 17.6%).

According to William Ryan, BVSc, of Ryan Mitchell Associates in Westfield, N.J., and colleagues, “The results of the two studies reported here indicate that ivermectin is a treatment option when other treatments like permethrin have failed or when there is a desire to reduce the need for nit combing and increase the probability of success with a single application.”

However, researchers advise that more-established techniques, such as treatments with permethrin or pyrethrin, or even malathion in cases of resistance, should be tried before using ivermectin.

“Ivermectin should be the last choice, whether topical (for still-infested persons) or oral (especially for mass treatment),” they said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  approved Sklice (ivermectin) lotion, 0.5% for the topical treatment of head lice, in patients 6 months of age and older in February.

Pediculus humanus capitis, or the head louse is a ectoparasite is found on the scalp and facial hairs of infested individuals. They do take blood meals but are not known for transmitting infectious diseases.

Because the head lice cannot jump or fly, direct contact with an infested person is required to get it. Contact with infested personal items and clothing is also a vehicle for transmission. A lack of personal hygiene has nothing to do with getting head lice.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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