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288 patients were used to evaluated the effectiveness of lithium gluconate compared to that of ketoconazole in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.

Preparations Compared:

  • Lithium gluconate 8% ointment
  • Ketoconazole 2% emulsion

Key Takeaways:

  • Lithium gluconate produced superior results (22% more effective).
  • Complete remission after 4 weeks:
    • 28.1% of lithitum gluconate users
    • 16% of ketoconazole users
  • Complete remission after 8 weeks:
    • 57.8% of lithitum gluconate users
    • 32.8% of ketoconazole users
  • Adverse effects were reported in 26.3% of lithium users vs 25% of ketoconazole users .
  • Lithium gluconate showed better results on secondary symptoms (dryness, burning)
  • Complete remission was achieved in

Additional Points of Interest:

  • Lithiums’ usefulness for seborrheic dermatitis was first discovered when a reduction of seborrheic dermatitis was noted in patients using lithitum salts for the treatment for psychotic syndrome.
  • While patients found ketconazole less sticky, ease of application was considered superior for the lithium gluconate.
  • Main adverse reactions included: reddening of the skin, burning, and dryness.
  • Exact method in which lithium salts resolve seborrheic dermatitis is unclear. However, several theories include:
    • Inhibition of malassezia furfur
    • Inhibition of free fatty acid production (necessary for growth of malassezia)
    • Anti-inflammatory effect of lithium salts by inhibition of arachidonic acid production


Lithitum gluconate appears to have better effectiveness then ketoconazole for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.

Research Paper Details

June 27th, 2003
B Dreno, O Chosidow, J Revuz, D Moyse,
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About Michael Anders

After being affected by seborrheic dermatitis, I have made it my goal to gather and organize all the information that has helped me in my journey.

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