Calamine, also known as calamine lotion, is a medication used to treat mild itchiness. This includes from sunburn, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, or other mild skin conditions. It may also help dry out skin irritation. It is applied on the skin as a cream or lotion.
Calamine lotion and container
|Pronunciation||KAL a mine|
|Other names||Calamine lotion|
Side effects may include skin irritation. It is considered to be safe in pregnancy. Calamine is a combination of zinc oxide and 0.5% ferric oxide (Fe2O3). The lotion is produced with additional ingredients such as phenol and calcium hydroxide.
Calamine lotion has been used as far back as 1500 BC. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. Calamine is available over the counter as a generic medication. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.25–3.85 per 100-ml bottle. In the United Kingdom, it costs the National Health Service about £0.44.
In a 1992 press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that no proof had been submitted showing calamine to be effective in treating the irritation of insect bites or stings, or the rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
In a September 2, 2008 document, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended applying some topical over-the-counter skin products, such as calamine, to absorb the weeping of the skin caused by poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. For relieving the pain or itching caused by these plants, the same document recommends a cold water compress and topical corticosteroids.
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- September 2, 2008 FDA Document Archived July 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine