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Selenium Sulfide

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 11, 2020.

Pronunciation

(se LEE nee um SUL fide)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Lotion, External:

Generic: 2.5% (118 mL, 120 mL)

Shampoo, External:

Anti-Dandruff: 1% (207 mL) [contains brilliant blue fcf (fd&c blue #1), menthol]

SelRx: 2.3% (180 mL) [contains fd&c red #40, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben]

Generic: 2.25% (180 mL); 2.3% (180 mL)

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Anti-Dandruff [OTC]
  • SelRx

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antiseborrheic Agent, Topical
  • Topical Skin Product

Pharmacology

May block the enzymes involved in growth of epithelial tissue

Absorption

Topical: None through intact skin, but can be absorbed through damaged skin

Use: Labeled Indications

Dandruff, scalp seborrhea: Treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp

Tinea versicolor: Treatment of tinea versicolor

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to selenium sulfide or any component of the formulation.

Dosing: Adult

Dandruff, scalp seborrhea: Topical:

Lotion, shampoo (2.25%, 2.3%): Massage ~5 to 10 mL into wet scalp; leave on scalp for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse scalp thoroughly. Repeat application and rinse thoroughly. Usually 2 applications each week for 2 weeks with provide control. After this, may repeat at less frequent intervals (eg, once weekly, every 2 to 4 weeks).

Shampoo (OTC 1%): Massage shampoo into wet scalp then rinse thoroughly. Use at least twice weekly for best results.

Tinea versicolor: Topical:

Lotion, shampoo (2.25%, 2.3%): Apply to affected area and lather with small amounts of water; leave on skin for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly; repeat once every day for 7 days.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Tersi foam has been discontinued in the US for more than 1 year.

Dandruff, scalp seborrhea: Topical:

Lotion: Children and Adolescents: Massage 5 to 10 mL into wet scalp, leave on scalp 2 to 3 minutes, and rinse thoroughly. Repeat application and rinse thoroughly. Usually 2 applications each week for 2 weeks will provide control; after this, may repeat at less frequent intervals (eg, once weekly, every 2 to 4 weeks)

Shampoo: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Massage shampoo into wet scalp then rinse thoroughly. Use at least twice weekly for best results (Kliegman 2016; Schachner 2011)

Tinea versicolor: Topical:

Lotion: Children and Adolescents: Apply to the affected area and lather with a small amount of water; leave on skin for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly; apply once daily for 7 days. Some experts suggest weekly or monthly application may be used to prevent recurrence (Red Book [AAP 2015])

Shampoo: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Apply to the affected area and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off. Apply once daily for 3 to 7 days; once controlled weekly or monthly application may prevent recurrence (Red Book [AAP 2015])

Tinea capitis, adjunct treatment: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Lotion, Shampoo: Topical: Apply and leave on for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse; apply two or three times weekly; used with concomitant systemic therapy; continue for at least 2 weeks until clinical/mycologic cure (Givens 1995; Red Book [AAP 2015])

Administration

Topical: Shake well before using. For external use only; not for ophthalmic, oral, anal or intravaginal use. Do not use when acute inflammation or exudation is present or on damaged skin or mucous membranes. For color treated or permed hair, it is especially important to rinse hair thoroughly after treatment. May damage jewelry; remove before treatment.

Storage

Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F); excursions permitted between 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). Protect from heat and freezing.

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Adverse Reactions

Frequency not defined.

Central nervous system: Lethargy

Dermatologic: Alopecia or hair discoloration, unusual dryness or oiliness of scalp

Gastrointestinal: Vomiting following long-term use on damaged skin, abdominal pain, garlic breath

Local: Burning, itching, irritation, stinging (transient)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Tremor

Miscellaneous: Diaphoresis

Warnings/Precautions

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Local effects: Skin irritation or sensitization may occur; discontinue use if irritation or sensitivity occurs.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Appropriate use: For external use only; not for ophthalmic, oral, anal or intravaginal use. Due to the risk of systemic toxicity, do not use when acute inflammation or exudation is present or on damaged skin or mucous membranes.

• Self-medication (OTC use): Shampoo: When used for self-medication, contact a health care provider before use if the seborrheic dermatitis is in other areas other than the scalp. Discontinue use and contact a healthcare provider if condition worsens or does not improve after regular use.

Pregnancy Risk Factor

C

Pregnancy Considerations

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted. The manufacturer's labeling for some products recommend against using selenium sulfide in pregnant women.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat dandruff.

• It is used to control seborrheic dermatitis.

• It is used to treat fungal infections of the skin.

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Burning

• Stinging

• Hair discoloration

• Oily hair or scalp

• Dry hair or scalp

• Hair loss

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Application site redness or irritation

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine's uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.