Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2011 Aug 24;11:14.
doi: 10.1186/1471-5945-11-14.

An Ex Vivo, Assessor Blind, Randomised, Parallel Group, Comparative Efficacy Trial of the Ovicidal Activity of Three Pediculicides After a Single Application--Melaleuca Oil and Lavender Oil, Eucalyptus Oil and Lemon Tea Tree Oil, and a "Suffocation" Pediculicide

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

An Ex Vivo, Assessor Blind, Randomised, Parallel Group, Comparative Efficacy Trial of the Ovicidal Activity of Three Pediculicides After a Single Application--Melaleuca Oil and Lavender Oil, Eucalyptus Oil and Lemon Tea Tree Oil, and a "Suffocation" Pediculicide

Stephen C Barker et al. BMC Dermatol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: There are two components to the clinical efficacy of pediculicides: (i) efficacy against the crawling-stages (lousicidal efficacy); and (ii) efficacy against the eggs (ovicidal efficacy). Lousicidal efficacy and ovicidal efficacy are confounded in clinical trials. Here we report on a trial that was specially designed to rank the clinical ovicidal efficacy of pediculicides. Eggs were collected, pre-treatment and post-treatment, from subjects with different types of hair, different coloured hair and hair of different length.

Method: Subjects with at least 20 live eggs of Pediculus capitis (head lice) were randomised to one of three treatment-groups: a melaleuca oil (commonly called tea tree oil) and lavender oil pediculicide (TTO/LO); a eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil pediculicide (EO/LTTO); or a "suffocation" pediculicide. Pre-treatment: 10 to 22 live eggs were taken from the head by cutting the single hair with the live egg attached, before the treatment (total of 1,062 eggs).

Treatment: The subjects then received a single treatment of one of the three pediculicides, according to the manufacturers' instructions. Post-treatment: 10 to 41 treated live eggs were taken from the head by cutting the single hair with the egg attached (total of 1,183 eggs). Eggs were incubated for 14 days. The proportion of eggs that had hatched after 14 days in the pre-treatment group was compared with the proportion of eggs that hatched in the post-treatment group. The primary outcome measure was % ovicidal efficacy for each of the three pediculicides.

Results: 722 subjects were examined for the presence of eggs of head lice. 92 of these subjects were recruited and randomly assigned to: the "suffocation" pediculicide (n = 31); the melaleuca oil and lavender oil pediculicide (n = 31); and the eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil pediculicide (n = 30 subjects). The group treated with eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil had an ovicidal efficacy of 3.3% (SD 16%) whereas the group treated with melaleuca oil and lavender oil had an ovicidal efficacy of 44.4% (SD 23%) and the group treated with the "suffocation" pediculicide had an ovicidal efficacy of 68.3% (SD 38%).

Conclusion: Ovicidal efficacy varied substantially among treatments, from 3.3% to 68.3%. The "suffocation" pediculicide and the melaleuca oil and lavender oil pediculicide (TTO/LO) were significantly more ovicidal than eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil pediculicide (EO/LTTO) (P < 0.0001). Ranking: 1. "Suffocation" pediculicide (68.3% efficacy against eggs); 2. Melaleuca oil and lavender oil (44.4%) pediculicide; 3. Eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil (3.3%) pediculicide. The "suffocation" pediculicide and TTO/LO are also highly efficacious against the crawling-stages. Thus, the "suffocation" pediculicide and TTO/LO should be recommended as first line treatments.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Disposition of subjects treated with eucalyptus oil and lemon tea tree oil (EO/LTTO), melaleuca oil and lavender oil (TTO/LO), and the suffocation pediculicide.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 8 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Barker SC, Altman PM. A randomised, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of head lice in children - melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a suffocation product. BMC Dermatol. 2010;10(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1471-5945-10-6. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Dodd CS. Interventions for treating head lice. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2001. Art. No.: CD001165. [Note that this version of the Cochrane database has been withdrawn and that a new review is underway] - PubMed
    1. Taplin D, Castillero PM, Spiegel J. et al. Malathion for treatment of Pediculus humanus var capitis infestation. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1982;247(22):3103–3105. doi: 10.1001/jama.247.22.3103. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Taplin D, Meinking T, Castillero PM, Sanchez R. Permethrin 1% creme rinse for the treatment of Pediculus humanus var capitis infestation. Pediatric Dermatology. 1986;3:344–348. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.1986.tb00538.x. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Meinking T, Taplin D, Kalter DC. et al. Comparative efficacy of treatments for pediculosis capitis infestations. Archives of Dermatology. 1986;122:267–271. doi: 10.1001/archderm.122.3.267. - DOI - PubMed

Publication types

MeSH terms

Feedback