OTC Head Lice Treatments

Chat with Pharmacy Staff

Question

Are there any over-the-counter treatments for head lice?

Answer

There are indeed over-the-counter treatments for head lice. Luckily, these over-the-counter medications are very effective in treating head lice. Over-the-counter treatments are usually the first treatment choice.

Nix®(permethrin) and Rid®(pyrethrin)

The best treatment for children age two years and older is permethrin 1% cream rinse (Nix®). It's even more effective than prescription treatments, curing 99% of head lice cases after a single application. Nix® continues to work for up to 2 weeks after the first application. It also kills lice eggs. A second Nix® treatment in seven days may increase its effectiveness. The most commonly reported side effects of permethrin products include mild itching and stinging of the scalp.

Another over-the-counter medicine is pyrethrin (Rid®) shampoo. It's effective in 93% of people after one application and rarely causes any side effects. Rid® does not have long lasting activity or kill lice eggs.

Head lice treatment directions

Make sure that hair is completely dry before using Nix® or Rid®. Do not use any cream rinse or conditioning shampoos before or for 2 weeks after using these products. This is because cream rinses and conditioners will coat the hairs and protect the head lice from the killing effect of Nix® or Rid®.

Back to Pharmacist FAQs

If you're looking for more specific answers to specific questions, ask a Walgreens pharmacist here.

DISCLAIMER:
Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a Walgreens.com pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.