Dog drug aimed at kids
Having trouble getting rid of your kid's head lice? Try giving him your dog's heartworm medicine!
Yes, I know that sounds absurd. That's exactly what I thought when I read about a recent study showing that the drug ivermectin (a common heartworm med for dogs) is more effective in treating head lice than the typical topical treatment.
Lice is one of the most common (not to mention least- threatening) childhood ailments around, yet researchers are willing to give your children powerful antiparasitic drugs to treat it. (Need any more proof that they care less about you and more about their purse strings?)
But here's what really gets me. This drug was a complete failure in a previous study on lice. But instead of scrapping the idea, researchers decided to try doubling the dose.
And what do you know? After 15 days, 95 percent of kids on the dog pills were free of lice (no word on fleas, though).
Effective? Maybe -- but that's akin to fishing with hand grenades.
No one knows for sure what side effects this drug might unleash on children -- but it's been known to cause irregular heartbeats, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, muscle pain and more. There's also a risk of severe allergic reactions.
The researchers say the drug should only be used for difficult-to-control cases, but c'mon -- does anyone doubt that this "treatment" won't spread like lice once it's approved?
In reality, NO case of lice is difficult to control if you attack it at the source. I don't know what parents are being taught these days, but my generation grew up with a safe drug-free treatment that's still effective today and will remain just as effective 100 years from now: shave the head, and the bugs are gone.
Wash, freeze or dispose of toys that might be infested, and you're done with it.
It's so easy you'd have to be missing what's under your hair to conclude that drugs and poisons are a better option.
I can hear the whining already -- other kids might laugh and point at the baldy in the classroom. But that's what hats are for. Most kids are wearing those things 24-7 anyway, backwards, sideways and inside out.
Besides, when a kid gets lice, odds are the rest of the class has it too. Just tell 'em to laugh and point back.
About the author
William Campbell Douglass I.I., M.D. has been called "the conscience of modern medicine."
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