April 9, 2009

FDA approves new head lice treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has approved a new prescription medication for the treatment of head lice (Pediculosis capitis) infestation.

FDA officials said they gave Benzyl Alcohol Lotion (5 percent concentration) full market approval as a prescription medication, for use in patients 6 months of age and older. The lotion is the first head lice product approved by the FDA with benzyl alcohol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Head lice are a problem that impacts more than 1 million children each year and is easily transmitted to others, said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. This drug is an effective first line treatment to eliminate lice infestation and minimize disruption in the daily routines of families.

The medication is distributed by Sciele Pharma Inc., a subsidiary of Atlanta's Shionogi Co.