Insecticide resistance in head lice: clinical, parasitological and genetic aspects.

Article Details


Durand R, Bouvresse S, Berdjane Z, Izri A, Chosidow O, Clark JM

Insecticide resistance in head lice: clinical, parasitological and genetic aspects.

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Apr;18(4):338-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03806.x.

PubMed ID
22429458 [ View in PubMed

Insecticide treatment resistance is considered to be a major factor in the increasing number of infestations by head lice. The large insecticide selection pressure induced by conventional topical pediculicides has led to the emergence and spread of resistance in many parts of the world. Possible mechanisms of resistance include accelerated detoxification of insecticides by enzyme-mediated reduction, esterification, oxidation that may be overcome by synergistic agents such as piperonyl butoxide, alteration of the binding site, e.g. altered acetylcholinesterase or altered nerve voltage-gated sodium channel, and knockdown resistance (kdr). Clinical, parasitological and molecular data on resistance to conventional topical pediculicides show that treatments with neurotoxic insecticides have suffered considerable loss of activity worldwide. In particular, resistance to synthetic pyrethroids has become prominent, probably because of their extensive use. As other treatment options, including non-insecticidal pediculicides such as dimeticone, are now available, the use of older insecticides, such as lindane and carbaryl, should be minimized, owing to their loss of efficacy and safety concerns. The organophosphorus insecticide malathion remains effective, except in the UK, mostly in formulations that include terpineol.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article