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What is Spinosad

Spinosad is a topical product used for the treatment of head lice infestations. Spinosad is derived from the fermentation of a soil actinomycete bacterium, Saccharopolyspora spinosa. 

In premarketing clinical trials, patients were randomized to treatment with either spinosad or permethrin 1% and were reevaluated 7 days after treatment. If live lice were still present, patients received a second treatment.

In these trials, 84—86% of spinosad patients were free of live lice 14 days after the last treatment compared to 42—44% of patients treated with permethrin.

Spinosad topical suspension contains benzyl alcohol as an inactive ingredient and is therefore not recommended for use in neonates and infants < 6 months of age. Spinosad was initially FDA-approved in adults, adolescents, and children > 4 years of age in January 2011; in December 2014, FDA-approval was extended to children and infants >= 6 months of age.

Brand Name


Indications & Dosage

  • pediculosis
  • Pediculus capitis

Side Effects

  • alopecia
  • erythema
  • skin irritation
  • xerosis

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • breast-feeding
  • infants
  • neonates
  • pregnancy


There are no drug interactions associated with Spinosad products.

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