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All about: Dritho-Scalp Topical

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Drithocreme
  • Drithocreme HP
  • Dritho-Scalp
  • Micanol

In Canada—

  • Anthraforte 1
  • Anthraforte 2
  • Anthranol 0.1
  • Anthranol 0.2
  • Anthranol 0.4
  • Anthrascalp

Another commonly used name is dithranol .

Category

  • Antipsoriatic, topical
  • Hair growth stimulant, alopecia areata, topical

Description

Anthralin (AN-thra-lin) is used to treat psoriasis. It may also be used to treat other skin conditions as determined by your doctor.

In the U.S., this medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. In Canada, this medicine should be used only on the advice of your doctor.

This medicine is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Topical
  • Cream (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ointment (Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For anthralin, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to anthralin, parabens, or salicylic acid. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Anthralin may be absorbed through the skin. However, studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.

Breast-feeding—Anthralin may be absorbed through the mother's skin. However, it is not known whether anthralin passes into the breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are using this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children—Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of anthralin in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of anthralin in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of anthralin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Skin diseases or problems (other)—Anthralin may make the condition worse

Proper Use of This Medicine

Keep this medicine away from the eyes and mucous membranes, such as the mouth and the inside of the nose .

Do not apply this medicine to blistered, raw, or oozing areas of the skin or scalp .

Do not use this medicine on your face or sex organs or in the folds and creases of your skin . If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Use this medicine only as directed . Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Anthralin may be used in different ways. In some cases, it is applied at night and allowed to remain on the affected areas overnight, then washed off the next morning or before the next application. In other cases, it may be applied and allowed to remain on the affected areas for a short period of time (usually 10 to 30 minutes), then washed off. (This is called short contact treatment.) Make sure you understand exactly how you are to use this medicine. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Anthralin may cause irritation of normal skin. If it does, petrolatum may be applied to the skin or scalp around the affected areas for protection.

Apply a thin layer of anthralin to only the affected area of the skin or scalp and rub in gently and well.

Immediately after applying this medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.

For patients using anthralin for short contact (usually 10 to 30 minutes) treatment:

  • After applying anthralin, allow the medicine to remain on the affected area for 10 to 30 minutes or as directed by your doctor. Then remove the medicine by bathing, if the anthralin was applied to the skin, or by shampooing, if it was applied to the scalp.

For patients using the cream form of anthralin for overnight treatment:

  • If anthralin cream is applied to the skin, any medicine remaining on the affected areas the next morning should be removed by bathing.
  • If anthralin cream is applied to the scalp, shampoo to remove the scales and any medicine remaining on the affected areas from the previous application. Dry the hair and, after parting, rub the cream into the affected areas. Check with your doctor to see when the cream should be removed.

For patients using the ointment form of anthralin for overnight treatment:

  • If anthralin ointment is applied to the skin at night, any ointment remaining on the affected areas the next morning should be removed with warm liquid petrolatum followed by bathing.
  • If anthralin ointment is applied to the scalp at night, shampoo the next morning to clean the scalp.

Dosing—The dose of anthralin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of anthralin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For psoriasis:
    • For cream dosage form:
      • Adults—Apply to the dry, affected area(s) of the skin once a day, preferably at night, or as directed by your doctor. Wash medicine off skin at the proper time.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For ointment dosage form:
      • Adults—Apply to the dry, affected area(s) of the skin once a day or as directed by your doctor. Wash medicine off skin at the proper time.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing.
  • Keep tube tightly capped.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Anthralin may stain the skin, hair, fingernails, clothing, bed linens, or bathtub or shower. The stain on the skin or hair will wear off in several weeks after you stop using this medicine. Some ways to prevent or lessen anthralin staining include:

  • Wear plastic gloves when you apply this medicine.
  • Avoid getting the medicine on your clothing or on bed linens. Ask your doctor if you can wear a plastic cap while sleeping if you apply your medicine to your scalp at bedtime.
  • Remove any medicine on the surface of the bathtub or shower stall by immediately rinsing it with hot water after bathing or showering. Afterwards wash the bathtub or shower stall with a household cleanser to remove any remaining deposits.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Anthralin has been shown to cause tumors in animals. However, there have been no reports of anthralin causing tumors in humans.

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Redness or other skin irritation of treated or uninvolved skin not present before use of this medicine

Rare

Skin rash

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, anthralin is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

  • Alopecia areata (patchy hair loss)

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.

Revised: 06/30/1998

The information contained in the Thomson Healthcare (Micromedex) products as delivered by Drugs.com is intended as an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services provided by medical professionals. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over the counter drugs (including any herbal medicines or supplements) or following any treatment or regimen. Only your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for you.

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