Lice - Medications
A pill, such as
ivermectin, is sometimes prescribed to treat lice when
the person does not respond to two or more topical treatments (treatments
applied directly to the affected area).3
Antihistamines (both prescription and nonprescription)
can treat the itching that often occurs with lice. These medicines may cause
drowsiness. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with
the doctor first.
If there is a serious skin infection,
antibiotics may be needed.
Prescription medicines such as
crotamiton or trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
are sometimes used to treat head and pubic lice.4
What to Think About
It is not necessary to remove
lice eggs from hair after treatment with topical medicines, but some people
may wish to remove them for cosmetic reasons.
Most products used
to treat lice may cause side effects if they are not used properly. Never use a
product more than two times (with less than 7 days between uses) without first
consulting a doctor.
There is some concern that lice are becoming
resistant to (can no longer be killed by) permethrin or other medicine used to
treat lice infestations. It is also possible that lice may persist after
treatment because the medicine was not used properly or because the person was
reinfected by someone else who was still infected with lice.
Wet combing is an option for infants who can't use lice medicines.