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Generic Name: benzyl alcohol topical

What is this medicine?

BENZYL ALCOHOL (BEN zil AL kuh hawl) lotion is used to treat lice of the hair and scalp. It acts by destroying the lice. It does not destroy their eggs; a second treatment is needed 7 days after the first treatment.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to benzyl alcohol, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • breast feeding
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Cover your face and eyes with a towel and keep your eyes closed tightly. Apply to dry hair. Make sure to apply the lotion to the area behind your ears. Use enough lotion to completely soak the hair and scalp; dripping may occur. Massage the lotion into the scalp and hair. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse completely with water. A fine-tooth comb or special nit comb may be used to remove dead lice and nits. Wash hands after using this medicine. Repeat the treatment in 7 days. Do not get into eyes. If this medicine gets in the eye, flush with water right away. Do not use this medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. While this medicine may be prescribed for children as young as 6 months for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you've taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss your second dose, use it as soon as you can. 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?

All recently worn clothing, hats, used bedding, and towels should be washed in hot water or dry-cleaned. Combs, brushes, and hair clips should also be washed in hot water.
This medicine gets rid of lice, but it does not get rid of their eggs. A second treatment is needed 7 days after the first treatment.
Head 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 your household should be examined for head lice and should receive treatment if they are found to be infected. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor or health care professional.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • eye or skin irritation

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (Report these to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome.):

  • itching
  • redness

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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