Addressing the 98.3% resistance rate to OTC head lice therapies2
In the United States, the latest data suggests that head lice infestations affect approximately 8% of school-aged children and 2.6 million households at an estimated cost of >$1 billion per year.1 But given that these statistics were first reported in the mid-1980s, we believe the numbers to be extremely low.
Over the past 20 years, the rate of resistance in head lice to commonly prescribed pyrethroid- and permethrin-based agents has risen to a reported 98.3% in 48 states, which is the primary factor contributing to unprecedented levels of treatment failure2. This results in a significant risk of further health and economic impact:
Patients self-treat up to five (5) times with OTC products before seeking treatment from a physician or healthcare professional, increasing the potential of adverse events3
Overexposure to OTC and Rx products leads to side effects ranging from headaches, dizziness, nausea, and seizures, to muscle tremors, abdominal pain, and other symptoms of neurotoxicity4
Lack of understanding and effects that persistent, low-level pesticide exposure has on children’s health5
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we understand the concerns regarding frequent exposure to OTC pesticides and the implications of head lice resistance to commonly prescribed therapies—and bring highly selective antiparasitic formulations to bear that are safe and effective.
References: 1. Devore CD, Schutze GE. And the Council on School Health and Committee on Infectious Diseases. Head Lice (Clinical Report). Pediatrics. 2015; 135(5):e1355- e1365. 2. Gellatly KJ, Krim S, Palenchar DJ, et al. Expansion of the Knockdown Resistance Frequency Map for Human Head Lice (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae) in the United States Using Quantitative Sequencing. J Med Entomol. 2016;53(3):653-659. 3. DP West., Head Lice Treatment Costs and the Impact on Managed Care, Amer J of Managed Care, September 1, 2004. 4. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) Public Dashboard. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/fda-adverse-event-reporting-system-faers/fda-adverse-event-reporting-system-faers-public-dashboard , 5. American Academy of Pediatrics – Policy Statement: Pesticide Exposure in Children, www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2012-2757 PPO-PPW3-000