Clinical trial showing superiority of a coconut and anise spray over permethrin 0.43% lotion for head louse infestation, ISRCTN96469780
Permethrin is the most widely used pediculicide, but evidence of resistance from several countries and anecdotal reports from Germany suggest that permethrin lotion is now less effective. We designed a randomized, controlled, parallel group trial involving 100 participants with active head louse infestation to investigate the activity of a coconut and anise spray and to see whether permethrin lotion is still effective, using two applications of product 9 days apart. The spray was significantly more successful (41/50, 82.0%) cures compared with permethrin (21/50, 42.0%; p < 0.0001, difference 40.0%, 95% confidence interval of 22.5% to 57.5%). Per-protocol success was 83.3% and 44.7%, respectively. Thirty-three people reported irritant reactions following alcohol contact with excoriated skin. We concluded that, although permethrin lotion is still effective for some people, the coconut and anise spray can be a significantly more effective alternative treatment.
KeywordsHead lice Permethrin Essential oils Insecticide resistance Coconut oil
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