NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Sodium Chloride Spray Superior to Permethrin for Head Lice

August 22nd, 2013

In a randomized trial that included 42 patients 4 years of age or older with an active head lice infestation, sodium chloride 1% spray (Licefreee) was shown to be more effective than permethrin 1% crème rinse.

Products were applied to hair according to the label instructions:

  • Sodium chloride spray was sprayed on the hair until the hair was completely saturated; the hair was then allowed to dry naturally.
  • Permethrin crème rinse was applied to freshly shampooed and towel-dried hair in an amount sufficient to saturate the hair, scalp, area behind the ears, and nape of neck; allowed to remain on the hair and skin for 10 minutes; then rinsed out.

No nit combs were used. If live lice were observed at a follow-up visit (day 8), patients were retreated following the same procedures.

Pediculicidal efficacy and safety were assessed on days 1, 8, and 15. On day 1 (i.e., immediately after treatment), 16 of 21 (79.2%) patients in the sodium chloride group were judged to be lice-free, compared with 14 of 21 (66.7%) of patients in the permethrin group (p >0.05). At day 8, 5 of 20 (25.0%) patients in the sodium chloride group and 15 of 20 (75%) subjects in the permethrin group required repeat treatment. At day 15, 85.0% of patients in the sodium chloride group were free of lice, compared with 45.0% of patients in the permethrin group (p <0.05). No serious adverse effects were observed in either group.

Pharmacol Pharm. 2013;4:266-73.