WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Skin Diseases
(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsParasitic infections
Open this folder and view contentsInsect and arachnid bites and stings
Open this folder and view contentsSuperficial fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsSubcutaneous fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsBacterial infections
Open this folder and view contentsViral infections
Open this folder and view contentsEczematous diseases
Open this folder and view contentsScaling diseases
Open this folder and view contentsPapulosquamous diseases
View the documentCutaneous reactions to drugs
Open this folder and view contentsPigmentary disorders
Open this folder and view contentsPremalignant lesions and malignant tumours
Open this folder and view contentsPhotodermatoses
Open this folder and view contentsBullous dermatoses
View the documentAlopecia areata
View the documentUrticaria
Open this folder and view contentsConditions common in children
View the documentAcne vulgaris
View the documentPruritus
View the documentTropical ulcers
Open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntifugal drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntiseptic agents
Close this folderKeratoplastic and keratolytic agents
View the documentBenzoyl peroxide
View the documentCoal tar
View the documentDithranol
View the documentSalicylic acid
View the documentTretinoin
Open this folder and view contentsScabicides and pediculicides
Open this folder and view contentsAnti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs1
Open this folder and view contentsAntiallergics and drugs used in anaphylaxis
Open this folder and view contentsUltraviolet radiation-blocking agents (sunscreens)
Open this folder and view contentsMiscellaneous drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex
View the documentSelected WHO Publications of Related Interest
View the documentBack cover
 

Coal tar

Solution, 5-10%
Ointment (crude coal tar), 1%

General information

Coal tar is a keratolytic agent that inhibits excessive proliferation of epidermal cells by reducing DNA synthesis and mitotic activity to normal levels.

Coal tar is not significantly absorbed following topical application.

Clinical information

Uses

Treatment of chronic psoriasis, either alone or in combination with exposure to ultraviolet light.

Dosage and administration

Adults and children: 100 ml of solution should be thoroughly mixed with bath water and the patient should soak for 10-20 minutes. Treatment may be repeated daily until the lesions have resolved.

Alternatively, a thin layer of ointment is applied to the affected areas once daily until the lesions have resolved.

Phototherapy should not be started until at least 24 hours after treatment and until all traces of the coal tar preparation have been removed from the skin.

Contraindications

Known hypersensitivity to tar preparations.

Precautions

Coal tar preparations should not be applied to inflamed, broken or infected skin.

Exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided as far as possible for at least 24 hours after treatment, because of the risk of photosensitivity reactions.

Although coal tar is a potential carcinogen, there is no evidence that it increases the risk of skin cancer at the doses used therapeutically.

Use in pregnancy

Safe use in pregnancy has not been demonstrated. Treatment should be deferred until after delivery whenever possible.

Adverse effects

Coal tar preparations cause skin irritation. Rarely, allergic sensitization occurs.

Photosensitivity reactions may occur, particularly when other photosensitizing agents are used.

Patients should be warned that staining of the skin and hair may occur.

Storage

Preparations should be stored in tightly closed containers, protected from light. They should not be allowed to freeze.

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