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Medications for Head Lice

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available for treating head lice. It's important to use these products exactly as directed to avoid side effects or a reinfestation. It's also important to comb the hair thoroughly with a special comb and pick out the nits. Most head lice treatments contain one of two active ingredients: pyrethrin or permethrin.

An Overview of Head Lice Medications

A number of over-the-counter and prescription medications for head lice are available. To find the best one for you, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
When using the medicine, always follow the instructions on the package insert, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
Important things to consider when using head lice medicines include the following:
  • Do not use extra amounts of the lice medication unless instructed. These drugs are insecticides and can be dangerous when misused or overused.
  • Do not treat the infested person more than three times with the same medication if it does not seem to be working. See your healthcare provider for an alternative medication.
  • Do not mix head lice medications.
Finally, in order to get rid of head lice, not only should the infested person be treated, but the house should be treated as well. This includes washing, vacuuming, etc. There are also things that you should do to prevent a reinfestation.
(Click How to Get Rid of Head Lice to learn about what should be done in the house. Click Preventing Head Lice to learn how to prevent a head lice reinfestation.)
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

About Head Lice

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