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Head Lice Medication

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Pediculicide Lice Care® (Malathion) Children, Adult

Head Lice Medication - What is it for

Head louse is a parasitic insect that is found on the scalp, particularly around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head. Rarely, head lice may be found on the eyelashes or eyebrows. Head louse cannot hop or fly, therefore it is commonly spread by direct contact with the hair of an infected person, and less commonly spread by contact with clothing or other personal items used by an infected person.

Common symptom of head lice infestation is itching which is caused by an allergic reaction to lice bites. Symptoms may take up to 12 weeks to develop after a person is infested with head lice. All household members and close contacts should be evaluated by a physician to determine if infested, and if so, receive treatment.

Permethrin 5% Lotion and Malathion 0.5% Lotion can be used for the treatment of head louse condition.​

Head Lice Medication - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Head Lice Medication cause?

Itching may occasionally worsen 1 to 2 days after treatment. It may also persist for 2 to 3 weeks after successful treatment which is normal and possibly due to the allergic reaction to the dead lice or nits. Your doctor may give you some medication to relieve the itch in the meantime.

You may also visit a pharmacist to obtain some antihistamines for the itch. If the skin appears to be dry, consult your pharmacist for a moisturizer and milder soap. If the itch does not go away by the fourth week after treatment, consult your doctor.​

Before taking Head Lice Medication, what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Head Lice Medication?

Head Lice Medication - Dosage and How to Use

How should Head Lice Medication be used?

Medication Age​ Instructions
​Permethrin 5% Lotion​Less than 6 months​Apply once for 10 minutes and may repeat 7 days after initial treatment
​Malathion 0.5% Lotion​6 months and above​Apply once for 12 hours and may repeat 7 days after initial treatment
​ ​ General Instruction

​Application is done preferably in the evening

Avoid using combination shampoo/conditioner or conditioner before application.

Trim the child’s fingernails if they are long.

Instructions for Application

Malathion 0.5% Lotion (Lice Care®)
  • Do not wash hair unless the hair has been submerged in a chlorinated pool during the preceding 72 hours. In which case, hair should be washed and dried thoroughly before treatment.
  • Apply the lotion on hair until the scalp and hair are wet and thoroughly coated, especially behind the ears and on the back of the head and neck.
  • Do not expose to electrical heat sources (e.g. hairdryer) or open flames (e.g. lighted cigarettes) as medication is flammable.
  • Wash your hands immediately after the application process is complete or you may wish to wear gloves if you are applying the medication for other individuals.
  • Leave the medication on the hair for at least 12 hours (Malathion).
  • Use shampoo to wash off the medication after 12 hours (Malathion)
  • Rinse and comb wet hair with a fine-tooth comb, to remove dead lice and eggs from hair.
  • For Malathion 0.5% Lotion user, a hairdryer may now be used.

Permethrin 5% Lotion

  • Hair should be washed with regular shampoo and towel dried before treatment
  • Apply the lotion on hair until the scalp and hair are wet and thoroughly coated, especially behind the ears and on the back of the head and neck.
  • Wash your hands immediately after the application process is complete or you may wish to wear gloves if you are applying the medication for other individuals.
  • Leave the medication on the hair for at least 10 minutes (Permethrin).
  • Use shampoo to wash off the medication after 10 minutes (Permethrin).
  • Rinse and comb wet hair with a fine-tooth comb, to remove dead lice and eggs from hair.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

What should I do if I overdose?

Head Lice Medication - Handling

How should I handle Head Lice Medication safely?

Head Lice Medication - Storage

How should I store Head Lice Medication?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Head Lice Medication safely?

Head Lice Medication - Additional Information

What if the medication comes into contact with my child’s eyes?

Immediately wash the child’s eyes under a running tap for at least 15 minutes. If irritation, pain, swelling or tearing of the eyes persists, consult a doctor.

Do I need to clean the house?

Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed, however to prevent re-infestation by lice, it is very important to wash in hot water all bedsheets, pillowcases, underwear, pyjamas and recently worn clothing (in the past 2 days before treatment) after completing the treatment and dry under direct sunlight or in a hot cycle dryer. Items that cannot be washed, e.g. large blankets, stuffed animals or dolls, should be put away in sealed plastic bags (away from contact) for 2 weeks. Combs and brushes are recommended to be soaked in hot water for 5 – 10 minutes. Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.​

Why is it still itch​ing after treatment?

Itching may occasionally worsen 1 to 2 days after treatment. It may also persist for 2 to 3 weeks after successful treatment which is normal and possibly due to the allergic reaction to the dead lice or nits. Your doctor may give you some medication to relieve the itch in the meantime.​

You may also visit a pharmacist to obtain some antihistamines for the itch. If the skin appears to be dry, consult your pharmacist for a moisturiser and milder soap.

If the itch does not go away by the fourth week after treatment, consult your doctor.

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