1 What is Drithocreme?

Brand: Drithocreme, Dritho-Scalp, Psoriatec, Zithranol, Zithranol-RR,

Generic: Anthralin

Anthralin is used for the treatment of long-term psoriasis. It is a man-made version of a natural substance found in goa powder, which is from the araroba tree. This medication works by slowing down the growth of skin cells. This product may also be used in certain patients to treat other skin conditions (e.g. alopecia areata i.e. patchy hair loss) as determined by your doctor.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Cream
  • Ointment
  • Paste
  • Shampoo

2 What to know before using

If you are about to start a drug therapy, the risk-benefit ratio of taking the drug should be considered carefully. Associated with active participation of the patient, the suitable drug therapy is chosen by a doctor.

There are some important factors such as:

  • patient’s condition,
  • drug interactions,
  • prevalence of metabolic impairments,
  • hypersensitivity reactions etc.

which may alter the desired therapeutic effects of such medications.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious toxic effects. If you have had any allergic reactions to any medicine then you must inform your doctor about that. Further, you must tell your doctor if you have any other skin problems or kidney disease.

Certain drugs should not be used concurrently with such medications. Before using any medicine, you should share the list of all prescription and nonprescription or herbal products that you are using with your doctor. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some other medications or even any over-the-counter medicine for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted toxic effects.

Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks. Moreover, there are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding.

3 Proper usage

You should use this medicine following the directions given by your doctor. The dosage schedule and the duration of drug therapy depend on the particular medical problem for which you are using this medicine. The therapeutic dose may also vary with the patient’s condition or requirement and the strength of the medicine as well.

In order to treat psoriasis, an adult should apply a thin layer of anthralin to only the affected area of the skin or scalp and rub gently once a day, preferably at night, or as directed by your doctor. Immediately after applying this medicine, you should wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them. In addition, its use and dose for children must be determined by a pediatrician.

Further, 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 10-30 minutes), then washed off. This is termed as 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. It may cause irritation of normal skin. If it does, petrolatum may be applied to the skin or scalp around the affected areas for protection. 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.

Further, it is advised to store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. All kinds of medicines should be kept out of the reach of children. However, outdated medicines should be disposed by an appropriate way.

4 Precautions to take

Firstly, regular visits to your doctor are recommended to check that this medicine is working properly or not. Use this medicine only as directed. You should not use more of it, or more often, and not for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Additionally, the following guidelines should be followed while receiving this medicine:

  • You should wear plastic gloves when you apply 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 anthralin to blistered, raw, or oozing areas of the skin or scalp.
  • Avoid getting the medicine on your clothing or on bed linens. You can wear a plastic cap while sleeping if you apply your medicine to your scalp at bedtime.
  • This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away.
  • This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another skin condition unless told to do so by your doctor.
  • This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Before using anthralin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.

5 Potential side effects

There are some unwanted side effects associated with each drug that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects usually go away during the treatment episode as your body adjusts to the medicine.

Your healthcare professional may advise you about the ways how to prevent or reduce those unwanted side effects.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor if you notice any of the following toxic effects, especially:

  • Temporary redness or irritation
  • Increased soreness of skin
  • Discoloration of fingernails and/or hair
  • Spread of psoriasis
  • Serious allergic reaction (e.g. rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness etc.)
  • May cause tumors in animals but no reports of causing tumors in humans.

6 Related Clinical Trials