Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Efficacy and Safety of Dimeticone in the Treatment of Lice Infestation through Prophylaxis of Classmates

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Efficacy and Safety of Dimeticone in the Treatment of Lice Infestation through Prophylaxis of Classmates

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: We conducted a study to evaluate efficacy and safety of dimeticone 4%, a lotion with no conventional insecticide activity, to cure lice infection and to prevent spread of infestation/reinfestation by prophylaxis of class- mates.

Methods: The study is carried out between April 2008 and June 2008 in Petranova International Institute in Rome. A total of 131 children, aged 3 to 13 years (median age: 7 years) were included in the study. All participants received treatment with dimeticone 4% that was applied both to children with die infestation, to cure it, and to all classmates, to prevent die spreading of the infestation. They have been controlled after 7 and 30 days from the application of di- meticone.

Results: At baseline we found a positivity of lice infestation in 23/131 children (17.6%), whereas 108/131 (82.4%) children were free from lice. After 7 days of treatment with dimeticone 4%, 7/23 (30.4%) positive children still had lice infestation, with a cure rate of 69.6% (16/23). At 30 days 26/131 children (19.9%) were infested: 15 children were lice free at baseline whereas 11 had lice at both evaluations; the cure rate amounted to 52.2% (12/23). The reinfesta- tion rate (percentage of positive children that showed negativity at baseline) was 5.3% (7/131) at 7 days and 11.5% (15/131) at 30 days.

Conclusion: The lower reinfestation rate showed in our trial suggests that this approach could be effective in reduc- ing spreading of head lice in small communities. More studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Head lice, School, Dimeticone

Introduction

Infestation with lice, or pediculosis, is a wide- spread public health problem that affects people of all socio-economic backgrounds and ages, even though infection occurs primarily in chil- dren of school age (1). The condition has a strong impact on non-attendance at school and at work and if left untreated it can lead to inflamma- tion and secondary infections (1). There is now strong evidence of the emergence of strains of lice resistant to common pediculicides that leads to the failure to eradicate the infection in some patients and to an increased prevalence of pedi- culosis in many countries (2,3). It is important, however, to recognize that much treatment fail- ure may result from reinfestation from an un- treated classmate or follow the application of an inadequate quantity of pediculocide or an im- proper duration of treatment. Thus it is necessary to evaluate a new approach to treat head lice aimed to prevent reinfestation after cure. Treatment of lice infection is based on topical or oral drugs, physical agents and wet combing. The literature is reach of studies on efficacy of topical agents but the elevated rate of failure of this drugs leads to test the efficacy of new drugs (4). Among physical agents dimeticone lotion is a therapy for lice infestation and it seems less irri- tant than other treatments (2). Dimeticone be- longs to topical non-neurotoxic agents and it is used also for the treatment of infant colic (4). In its class it was the first successful treatment for lice infestation in the UK. The main action of dimeticone seems to be coating the lice causing disruption of their ability to manage water; other proposed mechanism is the airway obstruction and suffocation (4).

In this study, we conducted a study to evaluate efficacy and safety of dimeticone 4%, a lotion with no conventional insecticide activity, to cure lice infection and to prevent spread of infesta- tion/reinfestation by prophylaxis of classmates.

Materials and Methods

The study is carried out between April 2008 and June 2008 into Petranova International Institute in Rome. A total of 131 children, aged 3 to 13 years (median age: 7 years) were included in this open prospective study and received treatment with dimeticone 4% lotion. Characteristics of age and presence/absence of lice at baseline are shown in Table 1. …

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