|Also called||Dithranol is an ingredient in these preparations:
|Available as||Cream, ointment, scalp gel and paste|
Dithranol is applied to the skin to treat psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a skin disorder which can often affect the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. It is caused by cells in the outer layer of the skin multiplying too quickly. As new skin cells are produced, old ones are shed. If this process is taking place too quickly, old skin cells build up on the skin surface causing red, scaly patches.
Dithranol helps to control psoriasis by slowing down the production of new skin cells.
Some dithranol preparations also contain other ingredients such as salicylic acid, zinc and coal tar.
Before using dithranol
Before using dithranol make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If any of the areas of psoriasis are sore, inflamed or have blisters filled with pus.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other preparation.
How to apply dithranol
- Apply a thin layer of dithranol to the affected area(s) as you have been directed. Avoid applying it to the surrounding healthy skin.
- Dithranol is usually applied for short periods of time (5-60 minutes) and then washed off using plenty of lukewarm water. Do not use soap or hot water to remove dithranol. Wash your hands well afterwards or use gloves.
Getting the most from your treatment
- You may be given a low strength preparation to start with and then a higher strength preparation if you are not having any problems.
- Do not apply dithranol preparations to your face, the inside of your elbows or behind your knees unless your doctor has told you to do so.
- Dithranol can stain your skin. This should disappear soon after finishing your treatment.
- Dithranol can also stain fabrics. Try to avoid contact with your clothes and furniture when applying this preparation. It can also stain the bath or sink, so clean them straight after use.
- Avoid contact with the eyes. If any of this preparation gets into your eyes, rinse them thoroughly with warm water.
- Keep your regular doctor's or clinic appointment so that your progress can be monitored.
Can dithranol cause problems?
Dithranol may cause skin irritation such as redness, itching or a burning sensation. This should soon disappear. If it continues or if it becomes severe, stop using dithranol and ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store dithranol
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dithrocream, Dermal Laboratories Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 21/10/2010||Document ID: 3539 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.