Skip to Content
Here’s what to ask a doctor about hereditary angioedema

Anthralin shampoo

Generic Name: anthralin (AN-thra-lin)
Brand Name: Zithranol Shampoo

Anthralin shampoo is used for:

Treating scalp psoriasis.

Anthralin shampoo is a topical antimitotic. It works by slowing the reproduction of skin cells.

Do NOT use anthralin shampoo if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in anthralin shampoo

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using anthralin shampoo:

Some medical conditions may interact with anthralin shampoo. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have folliculitis or other skin problems, or kidney problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with anthralin shampoo. Because little, if any, of anthralin shampoo is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.

Ask your health care provider if anthralin shampoo may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use anthralin shampoo:

Use anthralin shampoo as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with anthralin shampoo. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Anthralin shampoo is for external use on the scalp only. Do not apply directly to the face, underarms, or groin.
  • Use anthralin shampoo for the smallest period of time necessary to treat your condition.
  • To use anthralin shampoo, wet your hair completely. Apply anthralin shampoo to the scalp area and gently work into a lather. Allow the medicine to remain on the scalp for 3 to 5 minutes, or as directed by your doctor, and then rinse completely with lukewarm water.
  • Use anthralin shampoo 3 to 4 times every week, unless your doctor directs you otherwise.
  • No additional shampoo is needed to cleanse your hair after using anthralin shampoo. However, you may wash your hair with a nonmedicated shampoo or conditioner after you use anthralin shampoo, if desired.
  • Wash your hands immediately after using anthralin shampoo.
  • If you miss a dose of anthralin shampoo, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use anthralin shampoo.

Important safety information:

  • Anthralin shampoo is for external use only. Do not get anthralin shampoo in the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get anthralin shampoo in your eyes or on your face, rinse immediately with cool water.
  • Anthralin shampoo may be harmful if swallowed. If you may have taken anthralin shampoo by mouth, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
  • Do NOT apply anthralin shampoo more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your condition does not improve after 4 weeks or if it gets worse, check with your doctor.
  • Anthralin shampoo may stain skin or hair. Temporary discoloration of hair and fingernails may occur while using anthralin shampoo, but can be minimized by carefully applying the medicine.
  • To prevent discoloration of the tub or shower, always rinse the tub or shower with lukewarm water right after washing or showering. Use a cleanser to remove any deposit on the surface of the tub or shower.
  • Use protective dressings while using anthralin shampoo to prevent staining of clothing and bed sheets unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Staining of fabric may be permanent.
  • Contact with plastics and other materials may cause staining and should be avoided.
  • Anthralin shampoo should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while using anthralin shampoo, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using anthralin shampoo during pregnancy. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk after topical use. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use anthralin shampoo, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of anthralin shampoo:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Mild irritation at the application site; staining of treated areas (including hair or skin).

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); severe or persistent irritation at the application site.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of anthralin shampoo:

Store anthralin shampoo at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat and light. Keep the container tightly capped when not in use. Keep anthralin shampoo out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about anthralin shampoo, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Anthralin shampoo is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take anthralin shampoo or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about anthralin shampoo. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to anthralin shampoo. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using anthralin shampoo.

Review Date: November 3, 2016

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide