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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Veterinary medications should not be used for treating head lice in children

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News of 15/12/2014

Following a recent report of the use of veterinary medications to treat head lice in children, ANSES wishes to emphasise that antiparasitic, insecticide and acaracide treatments intended for pets should never be used on humans, especially children.

ANSES has again been informed of the use of certain veterinary drugs to treat head lice in children. The Agency reiterates that the veterinary medications in question are antiparasitic, insecticide and acaracide treatments intended for pets. These veterinary medicinal products obtained marketing authorisation (MA) prior to marketing based on a risks vs benefits assessment for the animal they are to be used on. The toxicological and clinical studies used for the assessment only take into account the physiology and potential pathologies of the animal species in question.

If the risks for humans have been identified and evaluated, it is only with regard to the risks for individuals who handle or administer the products. These studies do not in any way involve clinical studies to justify the risk-free therapeutic use of these products on humans.

In addition, insecticides and acaricides for humans are medicinal products specifically authorised for human use and are also subject to prior issuance of an MA by the French Medicines and Health Products Safety Agency (ANSM). The MA is granted following relevant toxicological and clinical studies, different from those conducted for issuing veterinary MAs.

Accordingly, ANSES wishes to emphasise that antiparasitic, insecticide and acaracide treatments intended for pets should never be used on humans, especially children.

In the event of lice infestation, the Agency recommends using the appropriate treatment, based on the child's age, and preferably on the advice of a healthcare professional (pharmacist, physician).