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Beware Lice 'Cures' on the Internet


Part of the problem is parents often want a quick -- and private -- solution, and, frankly, none exists. Many of the chemicals used in over-the-counter medications are reported to be losing their effectiveness due to lice that have become resistant to treatment. Permethrin, the medication of choice recently, has been shown to be losing its effectiveness in at least three different studies.

With over-the-counter medications loosing their power, W. Steven Pray, PhD, RPh, tells WebMD the best weapons against lice today are fingernails and a comb, and not the chemicals, salves, shampoos, and other gimmicks being sold today. Pray is a professor of nonprescription products and devices at the school of pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

Lutovitz doesn't want the public to become paranoid that every product advertised on the Internet is no good or that every company is trying to rip them off. "We would like consumers to exercise some caution when they're looking at advertising claims, and to check with their health care practitioners before buying a health care product."

The FTC recommends consumers visit www.consumer.govfor resources to help educate people about fraud on the Internet, and how to find and evaluate information on the Web.

Vital Information:


  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on companies that sell lice treatments over the Internet without providing scientific proof that they really work.
  • So far, the FTC has taken three companies to court over the way they sell their lice treatments. Other firms maintaining 28 Web sites that sell these products have received warning letters from the federal agency.
  • A pharmacist urges people to be wary about what they buy over the Internet and to talk with a doctor before buying any health-related product.
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