A new treatment for head lice, the bane of parents, children and educators alike, promises to get rid of the pesky critters without the unenviable chores of nit-picking and housecleaning.
The treatment, called Nuvo, is a lotion that is applied to the child's head, then dried using a hair dryer. The lotion forms a "shrink-wrapped" film that suffocates the lice. The dried lotion is left on for a minimum of eight hours.
Moreover, the treatment does not use chemicals that can be dangerous and to which lice have already become resistant.
The complete treatment is done once a week for three weeks, according to the inventor of the lotion, Dr. Dale Lawrence Pearlman of Family Dermatology in Menlo Park, Calif. The treatment does not reliably kill eggs, which is why it is repeated over several weeks, he added.
"It is possible to cure people of head lice without any neurotoxins, without removing the nits, and without doing extensive household cleanup," Pearlman said. "This is a very exciting discovery, and it could potentially replace everything on the shelf.", says Forbes.
In two separate studies involving a total of 133 children with confirmed head lice infestation, the overall cure rate was 96 percent. These results are "comparable or superior" to results achieved with the standard neurotoxin-based head lice treatments -- permethrin, pyrethrin, and Malathion -- Pearlman emphasizes.
Lice are becoming increasingly resistant to standard insecticides and there is a need for new agents to treat the problem. "We are kind of in a war of poisons - we have to get tougher and tougher poisons because the bugs are mutating," Pearlman said. "And while there is no evidence that children have been harmed by Malathion for head lice, a lot of parents are very worried and some pediatricians will not prescribe it."
The two Nuvo trials showed there was no need for nit removal or extensive household cleaning. In one study, parents performed minimal household cleaning and removed the nits, while in the second trial they omitted these steps. There was no statistical difference between the two trials in cure rates, or in recurrences among the 113 participants followed for 6 months, informs Reuters.
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