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Epidemiology of lindane exposures for pediculosis reported to poison centers in Texas, 1998-2002


BACKGROUND: Lindane (gamma-benzene hexachloride), commonly used as a treatment for pediculosis, has been associated with adverse reactions and has recently undergone increased regulation.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to describe the patterns of a large number of lindane exposures reported to poison centers in Texas during 1998-2002.

METHODS: Data on all lindane exposures for pediculosis reported to the Texas Poison Center Network were analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 528 reported human exposures to lindane for pediculosis. The incidence of lindane exposures has decreased by 52% from 1998 to 2002. Misuse or abuse of lindane was reported in at least 87% of the cases. Of those cases with a known patient age, 45% were less than age 6 yrs, 23% age 6-19 yrs, and 32% over age 19 yrs. Female patients accounted for 55% of reported cases. Of those cases with a known medical outcome, 61% reported no effects. The most frequently reported symptoms were vomiting, nausea, and ocular irritation or ocular pain.

CONCLUSION: The number of reported lindane exposures in Texas is decreasing. The majority of reported exposures involve misuse or abuse of the product. The pattern of symptoms reported in Texas was consistent with the literature.

Forrester MB, Sievert JS, Stanley SK. Epidemiology of lindane exposures for pediculosis reported to poison centers in Texas, 1998-2002. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2004; 42:55-60.

 
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