Hereditary and Acquired Ichthyosis Vulgaris Medication

Updated: Apr 12, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

The goal of pharmacotherapy is to reduce morbidity and to prevent complications. Because skin barrier defects caused by FLG mutations allows allergens to penetrate the epidermis and to interact with antigen-presenting cells, restoration of skin barrier function with emollients may represent a pivotal prophylactic approach. [52] Patients with atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis vulgaris benefit from therapy with moisturizers. [53]  Topical preparations with glycerin 5-10 %, dexpanthenol 5%, and polyethylene glycol (batch 400) may be valuable in patients with mild scaling. [54]



Class Summary

Retinoids decrease the cohesiveness of abnormal hyperproliferative keratinocytes and may reduce the potential for malignant degeneration. They modulate keratinocyte differentiation and have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer formation in renal transplant patients.

Tretinoin topical (Retin-A, Avita)

Tretinoin is a keratolytic agent that acts by increasing epidermal cell mitosis and turnover while suppressing keratin synthesis.

Tazarotene (Tazorac)

Tazarotene is a receptor-selective retinoid that is a synthetic retinoid prodrug that is rapidly converted into tazarotenic acid. Because use of tretinoin is often hampered by its irritancy, this product may be advantageous.



Class Summary

Humectants increase skin moisture.

Ammonium lactate (Lac-Hydrin) 12% cream or lotion

Ammonium lactate is an alpha-hydroxy acid that also is a naturally occurring humectant in the skin. It works to moisturize the skin and reduces excessive epidermal keratinization by causing loss of adhesiveness between corneocytes. Ammonium lactate is available over the counter as 12% ammonium lactate lotion (AmLactin Lotion).