piperonyl butoxide/pyrethrins (generic name)

It is used to treat lice
(pi RETH rins; PI per on il byoo TOX ide)
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What is this medicine?

PYRETHINS; PIPERONYL BUTOXIDE (pi RETH rins; PI per on il byoo TOX ide) is used to treat lice. It acts by destroying the lice, but it does not destroy their eggs (nits). This medicine may be used to treat head lice, body lice, or pubic lice.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • asthma
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to pyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, other medicines, foods, dyes, ragweed, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the package label. Use this medicine in a well ventilated area. Shake well before use. Apply to dry hair. Keep this medicine away from your eyes, mouth, nose, and vaginal opening. Apply to affected area until all the hair is thoroughly wet with product. Keep this medicine on your hair or affected area for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add warm water then rub into a lather. Rinse and dry with a clean towel. Use a nit comb to remove any of the remaining lice or nits. A second treatment must be done in 7 to 10 days to kill any newly hatched lice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Lice infections can cause itching and irritation. This medicine may cause more itching for a short time after use. This does not mean that the medicine did not work.

Lice can be spread from one person to another by direct contact with clothing, hats, scarves, bedding, towels, washcloths, hairbrushes, and combs. All members of the house should be checked for lice. Treat everyone who is infected. For cases of pubic lice, sexual partners should be treated at the same time to prevent reinfection.

To prevent reinfection or spreading of the infection, the following steps should be taken: Machine wash all clothing, bedding, towels, and washcloths in very hot water and dry them using the hot cycle of a dryer for at least 20 minutes. Clothing or bedding that cannot be washed should be dry cleaned or sealed in an airtight plastic bag for 4 weeks. Shampoo any wigs or hairpieces. You should also wash all hairbrushes and combs in very hot soapy water (above 130 F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not share your hairbrushes or combs with other people. Wash all toys in very hot water (above 130 F) for 5 to 10 minutes or seal in an airtight plastic bag for 4 weeks. Also, clean the house or room by vacuuming furniture, rugs, and floors.

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Last Updated: July 24, 2009
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