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Clin Evid (Online). 2007 Jul 1;2007. pii: 1713.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis.

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  • 1Unidad Docente Asociada de Dermatologia, School of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.



Seborrhoeic dermatitis affects at least 1-3% of the population. Malassezia (Pityrosporum) ovale is thought to be the causative organism, and causes inflammation involving T cells and complement. Seborrhoeic dermatitis tends to relapse after treatment.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of topical treatments for seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp in adults? What are the effects of topical treatments for seborrhoeic dermatitis of the face and body in adults? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to February 2006 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found nine systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: bifonazole, emollients, ketoconazole, lithium succinate, selenium sulphide, tar shampoo, terbinafine, and topical steroids (betamethasone valerate, clobetasol propionate, clobetasone butyrate, hydrocortisone, mometasone furate).

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