Dithrocream contains the active ingredient dithranol, which is a medicine applied to the skin to treat psoriasis.

What is it used for?

  • Psoriasis

How does it work?

  • Dithrocream contains the active ingredient dithranol, which is a medicine applied to the skin to treat psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis is a condition in which thickened, scaly patches or plaques of skin form. These are the result of excessive production of skin cells.
  • Dithranol works by slowing down the process of skin cell production. It is applied only to the psoriasis plaques and not to normal healthy skin. The dithranol is absorbed into the skin cells and inhibits DNA replication in these cells. This slows down cell division and stops the cells from multiplying excessively. In turn, this reduces the thickening and scaling of the skin and clears up the psoriasis plaques.
  • Dithranol can irritate and stain the skin, so the treatment is usually only applied for a short time every day. This is called 'short contact therapy'.
The strength of dithranol used is gradually increased so that the skin becomes used to the treatment.
  • Dithrocream comes in five different strengths: 0.1%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1% and 2%. Treatment should start with the 0.1% cream on small patches of affected skin only. If your skin has not improved after one to two weeks and you don't have any signs of skin irritation, treatment can progress to the 0.25% strength. If necessary this can be followed by the 0.5%, the 1.0% and finally the 2.0% strength. However, the 2% strength is only available on prescription and should only be used under medical supervision. If your skin gets irritated by using any strength cream you should go back to using a lower strength.
  • Dithrocream should be applied to the affected areas of skin once every 24 hours and should then be washed off, no more than 60 minutes after application. Alternatively, if you are using the 0.1%, 0.25% or 0.5% strength cream, you can apply the cream before going to bed, leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning. (The 1% and 2% creams are too strong for this and should not be left on for longer than 60 minutes.)
  • You can also use Dithrocream to treat psoriasis on the scalp. First comb the hair to remove any scales, then part the hair as necessary and rub the cream into the affected areas. Leave in contact for up to 60 minutes and then rinse off. Alternatively, if you are using the 0.1%, 0.25% or 0.5% strength cream, you can apply the cream before going to bed, leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning. (As with treating the skin, the 1% and 2% creams should not be left on the scalp for longer than 60 minutes.)
  • The daily treatment should be continued until the psoriasis plaques have cleared up, as long as your skin doesn't become irritated by the cream.
  • Use with caution in

    • Children.

    Not to be used on

    • Infants and young children
    • Pustular psoriasis
    • Inflamed, broken, blistered, raw or oozing areas of skin
    • Skin on the face, genitals, flexures or in skin folds.

    This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

    If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

    Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

    • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. It should only be used by pregnant women if clearly necessary. Seek medical advice from your doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant.
    • Women who are breastfeeding should not apply this cream to the breast area, to avoid the infant accidentally ingesting it. Make sure that the cream does not come into contact with the baby's skin or mouth. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.

    Side effects

    Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

    • Redness or burning sensation of the treated skin or the surrounding skin
    • Brownish staining of the treated skin or the surrounding skin (this will disappear within one to two weeks after finishing treatment)
    • Temporary staining of fingernails or hair
    • Allergic skin rash.

    The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.

    For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

    How can this medicine affect other medicines?

    • It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
    • You shouldn't apply any other medicines to your skin at the same time as this cream.







    Health Reference: Psoriasis

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