Ichthammol

Ichthammol will help reduce itching.

Apply it as directed by your doctor - this is usually one to three times a day.

Preparations contain wool fat (lanolin).

Type of medicine Topical preparation for eczema
Used for Lichenified eczema
Available as Ointment and bandages

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis, which means inflammation of the skin. When you have eczema, areas of your skin become red, inflamed and itchy. If you then scratch a lot, it can cause patches of your skin to become thickened over time. This is called lichenification. Corticosteroid ointments and creams are often used to treat these areas of thickened skin. Bandages containing ichthammol are sometimes applied over the corticosteroid, as they help to reduce itching.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using ichthammol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a cream or ointment. This is because ichthammol preparations contain wool fat (lanolin).
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • Use it exactly as your doctor tells you to. If you have been told to use a corticosteroid cream or ointment first, apply this and then cover the area with ichthammol ointment and/or bandage.
  • Your doctor may ask you to use ichthammol one to three times a day.
  • Try not to get any of the ointment on areas of healthy skin or on your clothes. Ichthammol may stain.
  • Use an emollient regularly. You may need to use it several times a day if your skin is very dry.
  • Try as much as possible not to scratch. To help with this, keep your nails short, and if you need to relieve an itch, rub the area with your fingers rather than scratching.
  • Wear smooth clothes next to skin rather than irritating fabrics.
  • Try to avoid the things which you know trigger your eczema. This might be things like perfume, soaps, bubble baths, biological washing powders and fabric conditioners.
  • Try to avoid getting too hot or too cold, as extremes of temperature can irritate your skin.

This preparation is unlikely to cause side-effects unless you are allergic to one of the ingredients. If so, your skin may become irritated and you may develop a rash. If this happens, stop using it and speak with your doctor.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

This preparation is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3724 (v23)
Last Checked:
17/01/2013
Next Review:
17/01/2016
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