What Is Ciclopirox Shampoo?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Ciclopirox shampoo is a type of medicated shampoo that contains the synthetic drug ciclopirox olamine as its active ingredient. It is primarily used to treat a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which often occurs on the scalp area and appears very similarly to dandruff. Dermatologists sometimes recommend the shampoo for patients suffering from dandruff, as there are some claims that dandruff may be a milder type of seborrheic dermatitis. The shampoo appears colorless and is often available through a doctor’s prescription.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin disorder that appears not only on the scalp, but also on the face and on the upper body, or an area where more sebum is produced. The main cause is said to be the fungus “malassezia” and its interaction with the overproduced sebum on the skin. Aside from scaling and peeling, the skin may also experience redness, itching, and sometimes, even hair loss if the condition occurs on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is also hereditary and may be aggravated when a patient is under stress, fatigued, or in severe weather.


Ciclopirox shampoo is an effective treatment for dermatitis because ciclopirox olamine is an antifungal agent, preventing the fungi from further mutiplying. Some tests have shown that the drug inhibits the function of some vital enzymes present in the malassezia fungi and, therefore, stops the propagating process and reduces skin inflammation. Moreover, it can also prevent the fungi from repairing themselves. In a conducted blind-test trial, patients were randomly given shampoos with or without ciclopirox and were instructed to use it for four weeks. Test results revealed that 93% of the patients who used the ciclopirox shampoo had experienced significant improvements, while only 41% of patients who used placebo shampoos experienced improvements.

Despite the efficacy of the ciclopirox shampoo, patients may still experience some side effects, such as a stinging feeling, redness, and mild rashes, all of which may gradually reduce after the skin has adapted to the medication. The recommended ciclopirox dose is about one to two teaspoons, depending on the hair length. The shampoo should sit on the scalp for a few minutes before being rinsed off to allow the skin to absorb the drug. It is not recommended that the shampoo be used daily, but rather be used after every three or so days. Patients are also advised to check in with their dermatologists if they do not see any signs of improvement after four weeks of treatment.

Children age 10 and under are generally not allowed to use ciclopirox shampoo as the medication may be especially irritating to their sensitive skin. Female patients should also inform their physicians if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the drug may pose some risks to the patient and to the baby. If the patient experiences difficulty in breathing, swollen mouth or face, or an outbreak of hives, he may be having an allergic reaction and should receive immediate medical assistance.


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Post 3

Ciclopirox shampoo is a very effective treatment for scalp dermatitis. I have personally used it with success! It does dry out hair a little bit, but it's not a big deal.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- I started using ciclopirox shampoo last week. I use it twice a week and my doctor told me to use it for four weeks and let him know if the infection is not gone by then. My scalp itching has already reduced, so I'm certain that this shampoo is going to work for me. I have no idea how your scalp will react to it though. If your doctor has prescribed it, then you should try it.

By the way, you're not using any other scalp treatments right now, are you? My doctor told me that when I use ciclopirox shampoo, I can't use any other topical medication on my scalp because they might interact.

Post 1

I have not used ciclopirox shampoo but I have used another anti-fungal shampoo before for my seborrheic dermatitis. That shampoo worked in the beginning but then became ineffective after two weeks. Ciclopirox shampoo has been suggested to me now, but I'm worried that the same thing will happen with this shampoo.

Is anyone here using ciclopirox shampoo for their scalp dermatitis? Is it working for you?

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