A randomised, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of three products for the treatment of head lice in children--melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a "suffocation" product

BMC Dermatol. 2010 Aug 20;10:6. doi: 10.1186/1471-5945-10-6.

Abstract

Background: There are many different types of pediculicides available OTC in Australia. In this study we compare the efficacy and safety of three topical pediculicides: a pediculicide containing melaleuca oil (tea tree oil) and lavender oil (TTO/LO); a head lice "suffocation" product; and a product containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide (P/PB).

Method: This study was a randomised, assessor-blind, comparative, parallel study of 123 subjects with live head lice. The head lice products were applied according to the manufacturer's instructions (the TTO/LO product and the "suffocation" product were applied three times at weekly intervals according to manufacturers instructions (on Day 0, Day 7 and Day 14) and the P/PB product was applied twice according to manufacturers instructions (on Day 0 and Day 7)). The presence or absence of live lice one day following the last treatment was determined.

Results: The percentage of subjects who were louse-free one day after the last treatment with the product containing tea tree oil and lavender oil (41/42; 97.6%) and the head lice "suffocation" product (40/41, 97.6%) was significantly higher compared to the percentage of subjects who were louse-free one day after the last treatment with the product containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide (10/40, 25.0%; adj. p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: The high efficacy of the TTO/LO product and the head lice "suffocation" product offers an alternative to the pyrethrins-based product.

Trial registration: The study was entered into the Australian/New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry, ACTRN12610000179033.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects
  • Asphyxia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage
  • Insecticides / adverse effects
  • Lice Infestations / drug therapy*
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage*
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Pediculus / drug effects*
  • Pesticide Synergists / administration & dosage
  • Pesticide Synergists / adverse effects
  • Piperonyl Butoxide / administration & dosage*
  • Piperonyl Butoxide / adverse effects
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / adverse effects
  • Pyrethrins / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrethrins / adverse effects
  • Tea Tree Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Tea Tree Oil / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Insecticides
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Pesticide Synergists
  • Plant Oils
  • Pyrethrins
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Piperonyl Butoxide
  • lavender oil