The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Insect Repellents
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Insect repellents have been used on the skin for many years, primarily to prevent mosquito bites, which transmit malaria, West Nile virus infection, and various types of encephalitis. With increased concern about Lyme disease in recent years, skin and clothing repellents are now also recommended for protection against ticks.

DEET — N,N-diethylmetatoluamide, commonly called DEET, repels a variety of mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, fleas and biting flies; no topical repellent is effective against stinging insects, such as bees and wasps. In the United States, DEET is available in formulations of 5%-40% and 100%. DEET products containing less than 20% can provide complete protection for 1-3 hours. Higher concentrations provide longer-lasting protection (up to 12 hours), but the duration of effect reaches a plateau at concentrations higher than 50%.

A long-acting DEET formulation, originally developed for the US Armed Forces ... more      

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