Anthralin topical cream

Anthralin is a topical cream that treats psoriasis. This condition causes thick, scaly areas of skin with itchiness and discomfort. You can apply this cream to your affected skin as directed. Follow the instructions to use this cream properly. Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from staining.

What is this medication?

ANTHRALIN (AN thrah lin) is used on the skin or scalp to treat psoriasis.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Dritho-Creme HP, Dritho-Scalp, Micanol, Psoriatec, ZITHRANOL-RR


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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • inflamed skin
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to anthralin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medicine is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Wear gloves to protect the hands and fingernails from staining during use. Do not allow this medicine to come in contact with the eyes. Do not use more often than directed.

For the skin: Apply just enough cream to cover the affected areas. Rub in gently. Avoid contact with unaffected skin. Wash hands after use. Leave the cream on the treated areas as long as directed by your doctor or health care professional. Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water. Clean the skin with soap and rinse.

For the scalp: If treating the scalp, shampoo and rinse hair with water and then apply this medicine to the affected areas. Avoid contact with unaffected skin. Leave on the treated areas as long as directed by your doctor or health care professional. Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water. Shampoo and rinse the hair well.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.


What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Interactions are not expected. Do not use any other skin products on the affected area without asking your doctor or health care professional.

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.


What should I watch for while using this medication?

Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. If you experience excessive soreness or if the lesions spread, you may need to use the medicine less often or stop using the medicine and contact your doctor or health care professional.

This medicine may stain fabrics. This may be permanent so you should avoid getting this medicine on your clothes or linens. To prevent staining of the tub or shower, always rinse the tub or shower with lukewarm water after bathing and then use a suitable cleanser to remove any cream from the surface of the tub or shower.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • soreness at the application site
  • spreading of lesions
  • severe skin irritation

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • discoloration of hair, nails, or skin
  • mild skin irritation

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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