Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide

What is Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide?

Pyrethrum extract and piperonyl butoxide are pediculicides available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that kill head lice, body lice, pubic lice (crabs), and their eggs (nits). The two ingredients come together in medicines that kill lice and nits.

What is Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide used to treat?

  • Body lice
  • Pubic lice
  • Nits

Common brands containing Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide:

  • Pronto
  • Rid
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide can you take?


Safety guide for Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide

The combination of pyrethrum extract and piperonyl butoxide is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label directions. These medicines are for external use only. To ensure proper use, read the consumer information enclosed with the product.

Safe Use Tips:

  • During application, do not use near your eyes. Keep your eyes closed tightly and protect them with a washcloth or towel.
  • If any medicine gets into your eyes, immediately flush with large amounts of water.
  • Do not use inside the nose, ear, mouth, or vagina.
  • Carefully read the instructions for proper louse removal.
  • A second treatment must be done in seven to 10 days to kill any newly hatched lice. If infestation continues, consult a healthcare provider.

Ask a Healthcare Provider Before Use If:

  • You are allergic to ragweed. Breathing difficulty or an asthmatic episode may occur.
  • You have lice in the eyebrows or eyelashes.

Do Not Use If:


Stop Use and Ask a Doctor If:

  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • Eye irritation occurs.
  • Skin or scalp irritation continues or infection occurs.
  • You accidentally swallow the medicine. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the side effects of Pyrethrum Extract and Piperonyl Butoxide?

  • Scalp itching or redness may occur. Contact your doctor if these effects persist.