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J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 2013 Aug;21(2):221-5.

Calamine lotion to reduce skin irritation in children with cast immobilisation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore.


PURPOSE. To evaluate the effect of calamine lotion in reducing skin irritation in children with cast immobilisation and to identify factors correlating with skin irritation. METHODS. 250 children aged 6 to 15 years who underwent cast immobilisation for limb fractures were assigned into calamine (n=122) and non-calamine (n=128) groups. Data were collected at the time the cast was applied and removed. Potential confounders (gender, age, race, medical history, drug allergy, cast type, duration of casting, and extent of itch prior to casting) were identified. Each patient graded his levels of itch, sweat, and heat using a 5-point scale (with 5 indicating most severe). The on-duty plaster technician recorded the presence and type of skin lesions (blisters, wounds, or others) during cast removal. RESULTS. Children in the calamine group were less likely to develop skin lesions (1 vs. 9, odds ratio [OR]=0.115, p=0.009), had less itch during casting (mean difference=0.74, p<0.0001), had a greater decrease in the itch level (mean difference=0.84, p<0.0001), and had lower sweat levels (p=0.048). After adjusting for confounders, the chance of developing skin lesions remained lower in the calamine group (OR=0.063, p=0.003). Being an older child and having shorter duration of casting were associated with presence of skin lesions. The odds for having skin lesions increased by 39.2% per year increase in age (OR=1.392, p=0.04) and decreased by 9.4% per day increase in casting duration (OR=0.906, p=0.03). The decrease in itch level remained significantly greater in the calamine group after adjusting for confounders (p<0.0001). CONCLUSION. Calamine lotion may reduce skin irritation in children with full casts.


calamine, phenol drug combination; casts, surgical; child; fracture healing; pruritus; skin; sweat

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