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Non-Toxic Lotion Effective Against Lice in Young Children

Benzyl alcohol lotion is FDA approved and found to be safe in children as young as 6 months

THURSDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- A nontoxic lotion approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to suffocate lice is very effective in treating head lice in children as young as 6 months old, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in Pediatric Dermatology.

As part of two phase III trials, Terri L. Meinking, Ph.D., of Global Health Associates of Miami, and colleagues randomly assigned a total of 250 patients 6 months and older with active lice infestation to two 10-minute treatments with 5 percent benzyl alcohol lotion (Ulesfia) or placebo one week apart.

Compared with placebo, the researchers found that the benzyl alcohol lotion was significantly more effective based on the absence of live lice 14 days after the final treatment (76.2 percent versus 4.8 percent in the first trial, 75.0 percent versus 26.2 percent in the second trial). There were also fewer treatment failures one day after the final treatment in patients treated with the benzyl alcohol lotion (3.3 percent versus 83.6 percent in the first trial, 14.3 percent versus 60.7 percent in the second trial).

"Benzyl alcohol lotion 5 percent is a significant breakthrough in pediculicide therapy and should be a preferred alternative to currently approved pesticide products and ineffective home remedies," the authors conclude. "Benzyl alcohol lotion 5 percent is the only FDA-approved pediculicide tested and found safe in children as young as 6 months of age, and not contraindicated in pregnant women. Because this product works by asphyxiating lice, resistance is unlikely."

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