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Comparison of 1% and 2.5% Selenium Sulfide in the Treatment of Tinea Capitis

Timothy G. Givens, MD; Matthew M. Murray, MD; Raymond C. Baker, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(7):808-811. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170200098016.
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Objective:  To determine whether an over-the-counter shampoo containing 1% selenium sulfide would have sporicidal activity equal to that of a 2.5% selenium sulfide prescription lotion in the adjunctive treatment of tinea capitis infection.

Design:  Prospective randomized nonblinded clinical trial.

Setting:  Outpatient clinics and emergency department of a children's hospital.

Patients:  Fifty-four patients between the ages of 1 and 15 years with culture-proved tinea capitis infection caused by Trichophyton tonsurans enrolled during a 14-month period.

Methods:  Patients were randomized to receive 2.5% selenium sulfide lotion, 1% selenium sulfide shampoo, or a bland, nonmedicated shampoo with which they were instructed to shampoo twice weekly. All received 15 mg/kg per day of griseofulvin. Dermatophyte cultures of the affected area of each patient's scalp were obtained on enrollment and every 2 weeks until a negative culture was obtained from a previously infected area.

Results:  Survival data analysis demonstrated that both the 2.5% selenium sulfide and 1% selenium sulfide preparations were superior to the nonmedicated control shampoo in terms of the time required to eliminate shedding of viable spores. When compared with each other, there was no difference between the 2.5% selenium sulfide and 1% selenium sulfide preparations in time required to produce a negative culture.

Conclusion:  Commercially available 1% selenium sulfide shampoo is an equally effective yet less expensive alternative sporicidal therapy in the adjunctive treatment of tinea capitis infection.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:808-811)


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