Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

New Treatment May Kill Head Lice -- Fast

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 31, 2012 -- Parents dread getting the call or the memo in a child’s backpack: the one telling you that your child or one of his or her classmates has head lice. Now, there's a new option in pharmacies that might just make that note less dreadful.

The prescription lotion Sklice (ivermectin) may safely knock out head lice in one 10-minute, comb-free treatment, according to a new study supported by Sklice manufacturer Topaz Pharmaceuticals, now Sanofi Pasteur. The findings appears in New England Journal of Medicine.

“Head lice infestation is something that has a huge social stigma and can be quite rampant, particularly when school starts in the fall,” says researcher David M. Pariser, MD. He is a dermatologist of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.

There are a number of lice treatments available today, including off-the-shelf or prescription lotions or shampoos. But they kill lice, not their eggs (nits). So, it may be necessary to repeat the treatments to get rid of newly hatched lice.

There are also salons and services that come to your home and do all the dirty work for you.

Many Lice Treatments Not All That Effective

These treatments work about 50% of the time, Pariser says. This means that they are repeated frequently, which adds to the risk of resistance.

“Ivermectin is a one-time, one-application treatment that leaves the hair nice when you are done so it is not all goopy and messy.” The lotion is available by prescription and can cost up to $300 if it is not covered by insurance, he says.

There were few side effects seen in the study -- namely redness and itching. Also, the study doesn’t compare Sklice to other available treatments.

Of 765 people aged 6 months and older with lice, those who used the new lotion were more likely to be louse-free by day 2, day 8, and day 15 than their counterparts who used the exact same lotion minus the active ingredient. “You need to have a treatment discussion with your doctor,” Pariser says.

In an accompanying editorial, two French dermatologists write that the new lotion should be the last choice unless and until there are studies comparing it with existing treatments. They suggest following the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2010. These state that off-the-shelf products such as permethrin (like Nix) or pyrethrins (like A-200, Clear Lice System, Pronto, R & C, and Rid) should be tried first.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration