History of anti-parasites (lice removal treatments)
Anti-parasites (or insecticides) products for pediculosis (head lice infestation) were introduced in the middle of last century, and the same formulations are still sold in stores in the form of creams, lotions and foams to kill lice and nits.
The two main anti-parasites categories used for lice infestation are the Pyrethroids and Organophosphates.
From the Pyrethroids family the most used substance is Permethrin that kills lice by paralyzing their nervous system using a neurotoxin. Being considered a substance with low toxicity for mammals it has been approved for human use.
As for the Organophosphates category the most used substance is the Malathion that binds with an enzyme called cholinesterase that will paralyze the lice nervous system. Malathion has also been declared safe on humans, although recent studies are now contradicting its safety.
Resistance to insecticides
The right application of insecticides deemed safe for humans calls for one or two applications maximum with a set time, to minimize the exposure to the toxicity of the substance, however in the past 10 years we have witnessed an increased resistance of lice to anti-parasites products with warnings coming from all over the world.
The consequence to the resistance is, of course, the failure to eradicate the parasite with the recommended number of applications, therefore users prolong the time of application and or the number of it. However, if the parasite has already developed a resistance, prolonging the time or number of application will not eliminate it, on the other end will increase the side effects from insecticides exposure.
What are the side effect of anti-parasites?
There have been reported both local and systemic side effects from the use of anti-parasites drugs. The most common local reactions are redness, pruritus (itching), burning sensation and loss of hair. The most common systemic side effects are nausea, headache, tremors, abdominal pain, diarrhea and breathing difficulties.
The most concerning factors for the healthcare community are the side effects from long term use, conceding also that such products are often used on children in their developing age, thus medical professional are starting to advocate for safer alternatives to the common anti lice products.
Most researchers have developed Most Pediculus System, an anti-lice product to eradicate lice without the use of common anti-parasites.
The system is composed by a solvent that eliminates the “waxy” envelop of the lice and a special conditioner to facilitate the removal of the parasite.
The solvent will make the lice less active and mobile and it will be easier to remove it with a nit comb. In the first application the majority of adult lice will be removed and in the next two application (at 4 days apart) all the rest of lice hatched from the remaining nits will be eradicated completely. This 12 days procedure ensure a complete lice eradication without the use of harmful insecticides.