The only prescribed medication to control head lice is lindane. There are several chemical methods sold as over-the-counter remedies for head lice. Once lice have been found, prompt treatment is the key to effective control.
There are medicated lice shampoos, conditioners, gels and lotions available. Most of these nonprescription remedies contain pyrethrin. Medications include Rid, A-200, Pediculicide Liquid II, R and C shampoo and conditioner to name just a few. A lice shampoo should be applied for ten minutes and rinsed out.
Once the shampoo has been rinsed or washed out, a combing with a nit comb to remove the eggs should follow it. You will find a special spray on liquid solution that says it will loosen the nits from the hair strand so the combing is easier. A magnifying glass comes in some lice shampoo kits so you can see the nits easier.
A follow up treatment should be done in about seven to ten days to kill the nits that were not killed the first time. You will want to do this before nits hatch and turn into nymphs and adult louse. Permethrin is an ingredient found in Nix, a crème rinse that advertises it would kill both lice and eggs and provide 14-day protection. Pyrethrin alone will not kill nits.
Prescription treatments for head lice contain lindane and come in shampoo, cream or lotion form. Lindane is more toxic to humans and many doctors and websites do not recommend using lindane. Failure is high for lice control whether you use an over-the-counter cure or home remedy. Often individual hairs that have nits attached should be cut out with a pair of sharp scissors. This would not be a good solution if the infestation were severe.
A good common sense method of controlling lice is found in a college science book. Shampoo with any shampoo that contains coconut oil or olive oil. Such shampoos include St. Ives, Rave or VO5. Shampoo as usual and rinse with as hot of water the child can stand. Shampoo again, leaving the shampoo on the head with a towel wrapped around it for 15 minutes. If you are working with a child, provide entertainment so they will be able to sit quietly through the procedure.
Comb out the tangles and suds and comb thoroughly with a nit comb. Keep the hair moist so the comb will pass freely through the hair. Clean the comb after each pass. Once you have thoroughly combed the hair with the nit comb, soak the comb in hot soapy water with a teaspoon of ammonia for 15 minutes, or boil the comb for 15 minutes if it is metal. You can also clean it with an old toothbrush and dental floss.
Repeat this weekly if necessary for three to four weeks. Check the hair often for any signs of new infestation. This method may seem tedious and time-consuming but it is a good alternative to using pesticides on infested hair.