SELENIUM SULFIDE (Topical)

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Exsel Lotion Shampoo
  • Glo-Sel
  • Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment Conditioning Formula Dandruff Lotion Shampoo
  • Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment Regular Formula Dandruff Lotion Shampoo
  • Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment 2 in 1 (Persistent Dandruff Shampoo plus Conditioner in One) Formula Dandruff Lotion Shampoo
  • Selsun
  • Selsun Blue Dry Formula
  • Selsun Blue Extra Conditioning Formula
  • Selsun Blue Extra Medicated Formula
  • Selsun Blue Oily Formula
  • Selsun Blue Regular Formula

In Canada—

  • Selsun
  • Selsun Blue
  • Selsun Blue Extra Conditioning Formula
  • Versel Lotion

Generic name product may be available in the U.S.

Category

  • Antiseborrheic

Description

Selenium sulfide (se-LEE-nee-um SUL-fide) 1% and 2.5% strengths are used on the scalp to help control the symptoms of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

Selenium sulfide 2.5% strength is used also on the body to treat tinea versicolor (a type of fungus infection of the skin).

In the United States, the 2.5% strength is available only with your doctor's prescription. The 1% strength is available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use of this medicine for your medical problem.

Selenium sulfide is available in the following dosage form:

  • Topical
  • Lotion (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For selenium sulfide, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to selenium sulfide. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy—

  • For use on the scalp : Selenium sulfide has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.
  • For use on the body : Selenium sulfide should not be used if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant. The medicine may be absorbed into your body and may affect your baby.

Breast-feeding—Selenium sulfide has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—There is no specific information comparing use of selenium sulfide in infants and children with use in other age groups; however, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of selenium sulfide in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of selenium sulfide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Blistered, raw, or oozing areas on your scalp or body—Use of this medicine on these areas may increase the chance of absorption through the skin

Proper Use of This Medicine

If you are using the 2.5% strength of selenium sulfide : Use this medicine only as directed . Do not use it more often than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

If you are using the 1% strength of selenium sulfide : For best results, use this medicine at least 2 times a week or as directed by your doctor.

To use selenium sulfide for dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp :

  • Before using this medicine, wet the hair and scalp with lukewarm water.
  • Apply enough medicine (1 or 2 teaspoonfuls) to the scalp to work up a lather. Allow the lather to remain on the scalp for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse.
  • Apply the medicine again and rinse well.
  • If this medicine is used on light or blond, gray, or chemically treated (bleached, tinted, permanent-waved) hair, rinse your hair well for at least 5 minutes after using the medicine to lessen the chance of hair discoloration.
  • After treatment, wash your hands well.

To use selenium sulfide for tinea versicolor of the body :

  • Apply the medicine to the affected areas of your body, except for your face and genitals (sex organs).
  • Work up a lather using a small amount of water.
  • Allow the medicine to remain on your skin for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse your body well to remove all the medicine.

Do not use this medicine if blistered, raw, or oozing areas are present on your scalp or the area of your body that is to be treated , unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Keep this medicine away from the eyes . If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, flush them thoroughly with water.

Dosing—The dose of selenium sulfide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of selenium sulfide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For lotion dosage form:
    • For dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis:
      • Adults and children—If you are using the 1% lotion, use on the scalp two times a week. If you are using the 2.5% lotion, use on the scalp two times a week for two weeks, then use one time a week or less often.
      • Infants—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For tinea versicolor:
      • Adults and children—Use the 2.5% lotion on the body one time a day for seven days.
      • Infants—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, use it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If your condition does not get better after regular use of this medicine, or if it gets worse, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if the following side effect occurs:

Less common or rare

Skin irritation

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Unusual dryness or oiliness of hair or scalp

Less common

Increase in normal hair loss

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.

Revised: 07/26/1993

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