The application of ICHTHAMMOL® in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases as well as degenerative and traumatic joint diseases is established all over the world for a long time. The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimycotic actions of ICHTHAMMOL® were proven in extensive in vitro-studies. Besides, ICHTHAMMOL® has, among others, also antipruriginous, hyperemisating and antiseborrheic actions. The well known drawing effect is attributed to a combination of osmotic interface effects and hyperemisating effects.

Anti-inflammatory properties

As already known since 1882, ICHTHAMMOL® is therapeutically effective in treatment of inflammatory dermatoses. Recently, some of the action mechanisms in question for ICHTHAMMOL® were investigated.

By means of in vitro studies it was possible to demonstrate on cellular level that ICHTHAMMOL® is able to inhibit the activity of enzymes (lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase) which are involved in degradation of arachidonic acid.

Derivatives of arachidonic acid belong to the extremely potent cellular inflammation mediators. As could be shown by different study groups, ICHTHAMMOL® impairs formation of LTB4 in a concentration dependent way. By inhibition of cyclooxygenase ICHTHAMMOL® acts analgesically (pain-relieving) as formation of prostaglandines is reduced.

Furthermore, it could be found out that ICHTHAMMOL® has an influence on the biological effects of inflammation mediators themselves. Both an inhibition of cell migration, which normally is initiated by chemotactic factors as LTB4, and inhibition of formation of reactive oxygen species as well as release of calcium ions were observed.

Results of the in vitro studies could be confirmed in animal testing by treatment of inflammatory edema with 10% of ICHTHAMMOL®.

Antibacterial properties

ICHTHAMMOL® ist effective in elimination of different strains of bacteria. Its efficacy was examined by determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) in vitro. As elucidated by the table, ICHTHAMMOL® mainly has an effect in grampositive species which play an important role in skin disorders caused by bacterial infestation. Results show that ICHTHAMMOL® is not effective as a pure substance only but has a distinct antibacterial effect also in concentrations between 10% and 50% usually applied in topical administration.

Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of different bacteria following administration of ICHTHAMMOL®.  
Test specimens ICHTHAMMOL® [%]
Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 0.039 / 0.078a
Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC 12228 0.313
Streptococcus pyogenes ATCC 12344 0.039
Gramnegative test specimensb > 5%

a different results in the experiments;
b 5 % were accepted as minimum concentration of gramnegative specimens 

Antimycotic properties

Dermatophytes as Microsporum gypseum and canis respond extremely sensitively to the presence of ICHTHAMMOL® in in vitro tests. In a test system in which formation of CO2 was recorded as degree of sensitivity of fungi a concentration of 0.2% of ICHTHAMMOL® was sufficient already to stop growth of different dermatophytes.

Other fungi respond less sensitively to the presence of ICHTHAMMOL®. However, it can be noticed that CO2 respiration of fungi is impaired with small concentrations already. This so-called subinhibitory concentration (SIC) is 1.25% for Aspergillus and Scopulariopsis species, for instance, and thus much smaller than the MIC.

Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of fungi following administration of ICHTHAMMOL®.  
Test specimens ICHTHAMMOL® [%]
Candida albicans (5 strains) 16.8
Hyphomyceten (Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis) 12.9
Dermatophyten (Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, Microsporum canis, M. gypseum, Epidermophyton floccosum) 0.2

Further information on pharmacological properties of ICHTHAMMOL® is available on request from ICHTHYOL-GESELLSCHAFT (contact).