A new oral treatment is more effective in eradicating lice as compared to any prescription lotion for the scalp, French medical researchers have found.
Lice are parasites, which infest more than 100 million people worldwide each year. Children between the ages of 3 and 11 years are particularly vulnerable because of their social behaviour, which is favourable to the propagation of parasites.
The researchers performed a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of a new oral treatment (Ivermectin) with that of a conventional anti-lice treatment (malathion lotion).
The trial was conducted by applying one or other of the products twice, at an interval of seven days, to 812 contaminated individuals from 376 families.
Ivermectin is a compound from the avermectin family, which acts by blocking neurotransmissions in the brains of invertebrates.
The researchers found that 95 percent of the 398 individuals who received Ivermectin were free from lice 15 days after the start of treatment, as compared to 85 percent of the 414 individuals treated with malathion. Ivermectin is already available on the market. It is prescribed, in particular, for treatment of scabies.
The study has been published in the March 11th edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.