Ivermectin for treating head lice

Ivermectin (Stromectol) is an oral drug that can be used to treat several diseases caused by parasites that live on or in the human body. The drug is available by prescription in the United States.

A single dose of ivermectin, repeated in 7 days, can work very well to get rid of head lice.1 Ivermectin can be used when lice are resistant to other forms of treatment, such as pyrethrin and malathion.2 But some doctors have concerns about its safety.


  1. Dourmishev AL, et al. (2005). Ivermectin: pharmacology and application in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology (44): 981–988.
  2. Chosidow O (2000). Scabies and pediculosis. Lancet, 355: 819–826.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

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