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Monday 07 May 2007

[Lithium gluconate 8% in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis]

By: Dréno B, Blouin E, Moyse D.

Ann Dermatol Venereol 2007 Apr;134(4 Pt 1):347-51

Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic from of inflammatory dermatitis characterized by erythema and desquamation with predominant localization on the face (nasolabial folds, eyebrows, hair-line and ears). It appears to be caused by proliferation of Malassezia yeasts. Lithium gluconate 8% gel (Lithioderm 8% gel) is the only drug containing topical lithium salt commercially available in France for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. The mechanism of action of topical lithium is not well known; it may act through anti-inflammatory and antifungal action. Efficacy and safety were assessed in 2 clinical studies, one versus placebo and the other versus ketoconazole 2% foaming gel using the same principal criterion defined as the rate of patients showing complete remission after 2 months of treatment (complete disappearance of both erythema and desquamation). Lithium gluconate 8% was significantly more effective than placebo and than ketoconazole 2% foaming gel and was well tolerated. Adverse events observed were cutaneous (burning sensation, erythema and pruritus), for the most part of mild severity. No cutaneous side effects contributed to those reported with the use of systemic lithium in psychiatric disorders were noted. Pharmacokinetic studies have shown that systemic absorption after topical application is low. Lithioderm 8% gel is applied twice daily over a recommended period of 2 months. It constitutes a new alternative in the treatment of facial seborrheic dermatitis, regardless of severity.

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