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A Double Blind Randomized Clinical Trial on the Efficacy of Citronella Shampoo versus 5% Permethrin Lotion in the Treatment of Head Lice Infestation

Journal 2014 Vol.15 No.2
Robert Eric D. Martinez, MD, Jeanette P. Samson, MD
citronella nardus, citronella shampoo, nardus, Cymbopogon shampoo, permethrin Cymbopogon winterianus permethrin lotion, winterianus lotion, Pediculosis Pediculosis humanis humanis capitis, capitis, head lice, Cymbopogon
Background:Resistance to standard permethrin lotion has been reported. There is a continuing search for more natural and safe remedies for head lice infestation among children. Citronella, a natural repellant, has been reported as a pediculocide.

Objective: To compare the efficacy of Citronella shampoo versus 5% permethrin lotion in controlling head lice (Pediculosis humanus capitis) among children between 5 years old.

Methods: A double-blind randomized clinical trial was performed at the community outpatient department of MPI-Medical Center Muntinlupa Foundation, PNR (Phil. National Railway) Site Bgy. Putatan, City of Muntinlupa. Children living in areas endemic for head lice were screened, and if found positive, were randomized equally to daily citronella shampooing (CS) or permethrin lotion (PL). Subjects were manually 2nd, 7th and 14th day of treatment. Chi-square test was used to compare proportions, which considered p-values less than .05 as statistically significant.

Results: Eighty-two children with head lice were included in the final analysis. Children in both groups were comparable in terms of age, sex, family size with head lice, anthropometric measures, frequency of bathing and shampooing and baseline severity of head lice infestation. Citronella shampoo was as effective as the standard 5% permethrin lotion in eradicating head lice in children. The cure rates were comparable for day 2 (CS=65.1% versus PL=72.1%, p=.76), day 7 (CS=65.1% versus PL= 79.1%, p=.30), and day 14 (CS=81.4% versus PL =90.7%, p=33) of treatment. There were no re-infestations and adverse reactions noted for the use of Citronella and the refragrance was more acceptable.

Conclusion: Citronella is a effective as Permethrin lotion in the eradication of headlice and Citronella shampooing can be an alternative natural remedy of headlice and Citrone for pediatric head lice.
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