Dithranol is a valuable agent in the treatment of chronic discoid psoriasis. Properly used it can clear the lesions in most patients without any of the adverse effects of the strong topical corticosteroids.1 Dithranol inactivates various enzymes, binds with DNA, and inhibits mitosis, but the basis for the therapeutic effect is not fully understood.2 The main drawbacks of dithranol preparations, which often make patients reluctant to treat themselves, are dose-related irritancy, especially affecting normal skin, and staining of skin, clothing and bedclothes. To reduce the spread to normal skin, dithranol is usually applied accurately to psoriatic plaques in a stiff base (Zinc and Salicylic Acid Paste BPC). The salicylic acid in this preparation appears to prevent oxidation of the dithranol to an inactive compound.2
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