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Treatment for Pubic Lice

Getting rid of pubic lice involves several steps. For example, over-the-counter medication is typically used to kill the crawling lice, while careful laundering of the infested person's clothing can help kill unhatched lice (nits). In addition to these steps, treatment for pubic lice also involves avoiding sex with infested partners until both partners have been treated and the infestation has been cured.

Treatment for Pubic Lice: An Overview

For most people, treatment for pubic lice involves medications that are available over the counter. These medications are generally effective, as long as the person follows the directions on the bottle or their healthcare provider's directions exactly.
 

Medications to Treat Pubic Lice

Medications available for treating pubic lice include:
 
  • Pyrethrin
  • Permethrin
  • Lindane (Kwell®) -- available by prescription only.
     
Pyrethrin
Pyrethrins are natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Though safe and effective, pyrethrins kill only crawling lice, not unhatched nits. Brand-name pyrethrum shampoos include:
 
  • Rid®
  • A-200®
  • Clear®
  • R&C®.
     
Some recommendations when using this type of pubic lice treatment include the following:
 
  • Always carefully follow the instructions on any lice treatment product.
     
  • Using treatment products more often than recommended can cause serious side effects. Remember, these are pesticides!
     
  • Do not reapply any pesticide product for at least seven days after the first treatment.
     
  • Most of these products can be bought as a package with a lice spray. Evidence shows that lice sprays are not effective at killing lice or nits. They will only put poisons into the air. Save your money and avoid buying lice sprays.
     
Permethrin
Permethrins are similar to natural pyrethrins. Permethrins are safe and effective, and may continue to kill newly hatched lice for several days after treatment. Brand-name products include Nix®, which has 1 percent permethrin.
 
Some suggestions when using this type of lice treatment include the following:
 
  • Always carefully follow the instructions on any lice treatment product.
     
  • Do not reapply any pesticide product for at least seven days after the first treatment. Using treatment products more frequently than recommended can cause serious side effects. Remember, these are pesticides!
     
Lindane
Lindane is a prescription medication available through your healthcare provider. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, for children less than two years old, or for persons who weigh less than 110 pounds. Lindane is often recommended only if the other two options described in this article have failed.
 

Pubic Lice (Crabs)

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