Anthralin comes as an ointment, a cream, or a stick. For short-term therapy, anthralin is applied to the skin or scalp
for 20 to 60 minutes once a day, then washed or shampooed off.
Treatment usually starts with a product that contains a small
amount of the medicine. The amount is increased every few days as long as
your symptoms are improving and you are not having side effects. If a
lower-dose product is used, it can be left on the skin longer (often overnight)
and washed off in the morning.
Anthralin can be used in combination with coal tar and ultraviolet
B (UVB) therapy (Ingram regimen). It can also be combined with corticosteroids
Anthralin limits the growth of skin cells.
Anthralin is used to treat large, scaly patches of
psoriasis on the arms, legs, or torso that have not
cleared up with other treatment.
Used alone, anthralin can be effective over a period of a few
Anthralin is likely to be effective in 2 to 3 weeks when combined
with ultraviolet (UV) light therapy (the Ingram regimen).1
Side effects of anthralin include:
Newer forms of anthralin have made staining less of a
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
Anthralin may permanently stain fabrics, showers, countertops,
sinks, and other materials.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Gudjonsson JE, Elder JT (2008). Psoriasis. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 169–193. New York:
January 9, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
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