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Insect bite treatments do not work, says new study

A new study in the British journal Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin found that most over-the-counter insect bite remedies such as antihistamines, steroid creams and antiseptics, are mostly ineffective.

Bee stingEnlarge
Common remedies for insect bites and stings are largely ineffective, says new study. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

A review by British scientists of common insect bite remedies, like antihistamines, steroid creams and antiseptics, have shown them to be largely ineffective.

The study published in the British journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin found there's "little evidence" that any of these drugs work and that most are prescribed them by doctors on anecdotal evidence alone, said CBS News.

"There is a lack of evidence for the efficacy of these treatments and, in general, recommendations for treatment are based on expert opinion and clinical experience," the authors wrote.

Bug bites and stings, whether from bees, mosquitoes, bed bugs and flies are a common occurence, with most people merely suffering a day or two with itchiness or mild pain.

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The research said that anti-itch creams and painkillers were marginally effective

The study did find evidence corticosteroids could aid people with eczema who react badly to bug bites.

"There is little evidence for the efficacy of treatments for simple insect bites," the reviewers said, according to Health Day.

"The symptoms are often self-limiting and, in many cases, no treatment may be needed."

The researchers did say anti-histamines might help a bit wth the itching - but only those that make you drowsy enough to sleep it off.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120412/insect-bite-ointments-do-not-work-says-new-study