If over-the-counter lotions or shampoos (Nix, Rid, others) don't kill your pubic lice, your doctor may prescribe stronger treatments, such as:
- Malathion (Ovide). You apply this prescription lotion to the affected area and wash it off after eight to 12 hours.
- Ivermectin (Stromectol). This medication is taken as a single dose of two pills, with an option to take another dose in 10 days if the treatment isn't initially successful.
- Lindane. Because of its toxicity, lindane is usually prescribed only when other treatments fail. You apply lindane to the affected area and wash it off after four minutes. It's not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, infants or young children, elderly people, or anyone who weighs less than 110 pounds.
Eyelash and eyebrow treatments. If pubic lice are found in eyelashes and eyebrows, you can treat them by carefully applying petroleum jelly with a cotton swab at night and washing it off in the morning. This treatment may need to be repeated for several weeks, and can irritate the eyes if used incorrectly.
If only a few live lice and nits are found, you may be able to remove them using a nit comb or your fingernails. If additional treatment is needed, your doctor may prescribe a topical ointment.
All hairy areas of the body should be thoroughly checked and treated because lice can move away from treated areas to other hairy parts of the body. Shaving won't get rid of pubic lice.
Aug. 04, 2017
- AskMayoExpert. Lice infestation. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
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- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Scabies, other mites, and pediculosis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 15, 2015.
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- Parasites: Lice. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/. Accessed Oct. 15, 2015