On the scalp, dithranol has been studied in only a few trials. The dithranol molecule that contains both hydrophilic and lipophilic centers can be incorporated into detergents and allows easy removal from hair. This property has led to the incorporation of dithranol in an emulsifying oil base (bio-wash-oil). The formulation has been used routinely for more than two decades in East Germany. We reexamined the efficacy and safety of dithranol in bio-wash-oil and compared it to dithranol embedded in crystalline monoglycerides (Micanol®) in patients with psoriasis of the scalp. In a prospective, parallel group study, 64 patients attending a day-care clinic were randomly allocated to 3 treatment groups: (1) dithranol in bio-wash-oil; (2) Micanol® cream, and (3) Micanol® cream in bio-wash-oil. Treatment was carried out for 3 weeks and results assessed using a modified Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score. Dithranol in bio-wash-oil resulted in a reduction in the score of 34% on day 7 and 57% on day 14. This was significantly better than in groups 2 and 3, as were the overall response and patients’ assessment at the end of treatment (p < 0.05). Dithranol in a bio-wash-oil is an effective, well-tolerated and low-priced treatment in psoriasis of the scalp.

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