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Head lice: resistance and treatment options


Reference 4 resulted in a subsequent BMJ editorial because it was a comparison between one dose of insecticide only versus wet combing and therefore it was unsurprising that in 80% of those receiving the insecticide inspected after 7 days were found to be still infected. The BMJ editorial effectively apologised for publishing the article as it had clearly not been rigorously peer reviewed. The evidence at the time from quality trials was that insecticides were 80% effective, not less than 20% as found in the BMJ study. The professional journal and many newspapers at the time reported the BMJ evidence with no critique and therefore the message to both pharmacists and patients was not to use insecticides as they don't work. This was the wrong message based on a poorly designed study and therefore I am not surprised that there was subsequent evidence of increased levels of head lice being found. Whilst it is usual for newspapers to present news without any consideration of the quality of the underpinning evidence, it is not good practice within a professional journal and can have serious ramifications if the professional relies on it to apply evidence based practice.

Posted date

23 NOV 2016

Posted time



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