Hello autumn, good-bye lice


lice treatments as kids head back to school 2004



Hello autumn, good-bye lice

As summer winds down and kids get ready to head back to school, parents must face the fact that it's also the season when head lice infestations become most evident. What's an anxious parent to do?

Several manufacturers are offering new lice treatments, many of which contain natural ingredients. There are even a few new products that purportedly prevent lice infestations. Here's a sampling of products that aren't so nice to lice:

Fairy Tales, Wayne, N.J., has developed Rosemary Repel, a line of natural, organic hair care products that are part of a three-tiered system of layering the hair with pure oils of rosemary, lavender, tea tree, geranium, and citronella. The firm claims that this procedure has been shown to be effective in preventing head lice. The line includes Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Shampoo, Rosemary Repel Leave-In Conditioning Spray, Rosemary Repel Crème Conditioner, and Rosemary Repel Styling Gel. The suggested retail price per bottle is $9-$10.

Safe Solutions Inc. is offering a nontoxic shampoo called Lice R Gone. The shampoo contains purified water, glycerin, enzymes, and peppermint oil. The suggested retail price is $21 for an 8-oz bottle and $4.95 for half-ounce packets. For more information, visit www.licergone.com or www.safesolutionsinc.com.

Yet another new, natural weapon against lice is Follicel, a product from Harlow Lubricants from Britain. Ingredients include water, orange extract, citric acid, yucca schidegra, glycerine, and propylene glycol, which the firm states is a by-product of heating glycerine. The suggested retail price is $14.50 for a 100-ml bottle and $34 for a 500-ml bottle. For more information, visit www.bibiheadlice.com.

Other natural offerings include Woodridge Labs' SafeTek Lice Removal Kit, a system that is said to eliminate lice and their eggs without the use of pesticides, and RID's Pure Alternative, a pesticide-free, hypo-allergenic, dye-free, and fragrance-free lice and egg removal system from Bayer Consumer Care.

Another natural product is Quantum's HairClean 1-2-3 Lice Kit. The company is also rolling out the MagiComb, an electronic device designed to prevent and eliminate head lice.

Tec Labs is rolling out a Licefreee! Stainless Steel Comb, which will be included in its single- and double-dose Licefreee! Lice Killing Hair Gel Kits.

North Carolina-based Piedmont Pharmaceuticals announced that its new patent-pending head lice treatment has entered phase II clinical trials in Canada, and phase I trials will begin in the United States and Europe in 2004. The new treatment is colorless, odorless, and insecticide free.

Del Labs has two new lice treatment entries: Pronto Plus Maximum Strength Lice-Killing Hair and Scalp Masque and Pronto Maximum Strength Lice-Killing Warm Oil Treatment and Conditioner.

There is ongoing controversy over whether schools should keep children with lice infestations out of school. The National Association of School Nurses encourages its members to remove no-nit policies and instead provide education in advance of outbreaks, along with routine screening and early detection. The American Journal of Nursing recommends that in order to keep children in school and to avoid chemical toxicity from OTC head lice treatments, parents should check children for head lice routinely. When there are symptoms such as scratching, they should treat children promptly so that the child can return to school the next day.

The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) has issued an alert on its Web site at www.headlice.org, warning that lice-treatment pesticide shampoos and lotions are not to be used repeatedly, or in conjunction with or as a follow-up to other chemical formulations.

In another related development, the Food & Drug Administration recently revised pediculicide labeling statements as part of its continuing review of OTC drug products. Included in this final rule amending the final monograph is FDA's determination that the term pediculicide should be removed from the statement of identity and replaced with lice treatment. In addition, the FDA has determined that "Warning" should be in the standardized Drug Facts format, and it has made a number of other changes to the "Directions" and "Other information" sections of product labels. The deadline for changes is June 30, 2005. For products with annual sales under $25,000 the deadline is Jan. 3, 2006.

For a free booklet, entitled "Having a Lousy Time," visit The Lice Bureau's Web site at www.headliceadvice.net.

Sandra Levy


Sandra Levy. Hello autumn, good-bye lice. Drug Topics Aug. 9, 2004;148:34.

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