Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Head Lice Medication Available By Prescription

louse nit and louse
In January, 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that it had approved a new product called Natroba Topical Suspension to treat head lice in both children (4 years of age and older) and adults. The original FDA announcement is here.

See Head Lice Biology and Control in School-Age Children for current treatment guidelines for parents and schools.

The active ingredient in Natroba is spinosad a relatively new type of natural, organic insecticide that has been used in commercial agriculture and home gardens for several years. Spinosad is derived through a fermentation process using a specific microbe that was originally isolated from soil. See Using Spinosad in Home Gardens for more information. Natroba is currently available only by prescription.

Over-the-counter medications containing permethrin and pyrethrum are still effective against the majority of louse populations but there is some evidence that insecticide resistance to these compounds is increasing. Where resistance to permethrin and/or pyrethrum is suspected spinosad-based treatments may be a viable alternative. No matter which pediculicide (louse medication/insecticide) is used however, proper combing with a fine-tined metal comb is still critically important (see Selection and Use of Lice Combs).

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