Single blind, randomised, comparative study of the Bug Buster kit and over the counter pediculicide treatments against head lice in the United Kingdom

BMJ. 2005 Aug 13;331(7513):384-7. doi: 10.1136/bmj.38537.468623.E0. Epub 2005 Aug 5.


Objective: To compare the effectiveness of the Bug Buster kit with a single treatment of over the counter pediculicides for eliminating head lice.

Design: Single blind, multicentre, randomised, comparative clinical study.

Setting: Four counties in England and one county in Scotland.

Participants: 133 young people aged 2-15 years with head louse infestation: 56 were allocated to the Bug Buster kit and 70 to pediculicide treatment.

Interventions: Home use of proprietary pediculicides (organophosphate or pyrethroid) or the Bug Buster kit.

Main outcome measure: Presence of head lice 2-4 days after end of treatment: day 5 for the pediculicides and day 15 for the Bug Buster kit.

Results: The cure rate using the Bug Buster kit was significantly greater than that for the pediculicides (57% v 13%; relative risk 4.4, 95% confidence interval 2.3 to 8.5). Number needed to treat for the Bug Buster kit compared with the pediculicides was 2.26.

Conclusion: The Bug Buster kit was the most effective over the counter treatment for head louse infestation in the community when compared with pediculicides.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hair Preparations
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Infant
  • Insecticides*
  • Lice Infestations / prevention & control*
  • Malathion*
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Pediculus*
  • Permethrin*
  • Risk Factors
  • Scalp Dermatoses / prevention & control*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hair Preparations
  • Insecticides
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Permethrin
  • Malathion