Ichthammol is a medication that typically comes as an ointment. The active ingredient, ichthammol, is combined with soft paraffin and wool fat. This ointment is used to treat the itching and skin thickening associated with chronic eczema, although it is not fully understood how the substance works.
Side effects associated with the proper use of ichthammol ointment are typically mild. They may include changes to the colour of your skin at the point of application, skin rash, dry or irritated skin at the point of application, headache or nausea.
In rare instances, patients may experience an allergic reaction that can include hives, swelling of the face, mouth, throat or hands, tightness of the chest or difficulty breathing. A patient experiencing any of these reactions should contact their health-care provider immediately. Other rare, but potentially serious, side effects may include a change in urination patterns, blood in the urine, fever, chills, body aches, nausea or jaundice. Patients experiencing any of these or other unusual reactions should contact a doctor.
Ichthammol ointment may include ingredients such as zinc oxide or lanolin. Patients who know they have an allergy to these or any of the ingredients in ichthammol ointment should discuss the use of this medication prior to its application.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There are currently no known harmful side effects associated with the use of ichthammol by pregnant women to either the mother or the unborn child. Nursing mothers may use ichthammol ointment as needed anywhere except on the breasts where it may be ingested by the nursing infant.
Ichthammol ointment is intended for external use only. Contact with the eyes will cause irritation and should be avoided. If ichthammol gets into the eyes they should be flushed with warm water until the ointment is completely removed.