Ichthammol, also known as ammonium bituminosulfonate, is a special kind of medicine made from dark shale oil. It is created by processing the oil and making it react with chemicals.
Doctors use Ichthammol ointment to treat various skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. This ointment often has 10% or 20% of Ichthammol in it. People sometimes call it “black ointment” or “drawing salve.” A doctor from Germany named Paul Gerson Unna was a big supporter of using Ichthammol for skin conditions.
In ear medicine, doctors use a mix of glycerol and ichthammol (called G & I) to treat ear infections. This mix is good at fighting certain kinds of bacteria. It also helps reduce swelling in the ear by affecting how the body makes and uses substances that cause inflammation.
Ichthammol ointment is made of three main things: ichthammol, wool fat, and yellow soft paraffin.
- Is ichthammol the same as black salve
- How does ichthammol ointment work
- Why is Ichthammol discontinued
- Possible side effects of ichthammol ointment
- Skin irritation:
- Why Ichthammol Use Has Gone Down
- Not enough proof it works
- Better treatments came along
- Worries about safety
- Why They Stopped Selling Products with Ichthammol
- FDA Rules Changed
- Worries About Being Sued
- People Liked Different Things
- The Slow Disappearance of Ichthammol
- Not in stores anymore
- Still used in special cases
- New medicines take its place
- Why They Stopped Using Ichthammol for More Than Just Not Working Well
- Did not Look or Smell Nice
- Connected to Old Remedies
- No Support from Big Drug Companies:
- The Meaning of Ichthammol Going Away
- People’s Thoughts About Medicine Changed
- We Lost Something Special
- Nostalgia remains
- The Future of Medicine Ingredients
- Testing for What Works
- People Like Natural Remedies
- Tradition vs. New Ideas
Is ichthammol the same as black salve
No, ichthammol is not the same as black salve. Ichthammol is not harmful to the skin. Black salve, on the other hand, is a different substance that can be harmful. Do not mix up “black ointment” or “drawing salve” with black salve. “Black ointment” with ichthammol is used for skin issues like psoriasis and eczema, not for harming the skin.
How does ichthammol ointment work
Ichthammol is a dark, tarry stuff that can fight germs a little. It helps stop itching and makes rough skin less thick and hard. We do not fully know how it works, but it prevents skin cells from getting too hard and scaly because of a protein called keratin.
Yellow soft paraffin and wool fat (which comes from sheep’s wool) are both oily things that sit on your skin. They keep water from leaving your skin so it stays moist. This helps the ichthammol get into dry, scaly skin areas.
Why is Ichthammol discontinued
The FDA, a group that checks if medicines are safe and work well, did not find Ichthammol ointment to be safe and effective. So, they did not approve it. Some companies stopped making it because it has things called polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAH) in it, which are known to cause cancer. This made people worried that using Ichthammol ointment on the skin might lead to cancer.
According to the CDC, these polycyclic hydrocarbons are not very harmful in the short term, but the biggest problem is that they can cause cancer. People who are exposed to these things may have a higher chance of getting lung, skin, or bladder cancer. However, we do not have very clear data about whether they cause cancer in other parts of the body.
Even though some companies stopped making Ichthammol ointment, you can still find it because it is considered a cosmetic product. In the United States, companies do not have to register cosmetics, and you do not need a special number to bring them into the country.
Possible side effects of ichthammol ointment
Medicines can have different effects on different people. Here are some side effects that some people might have when using this medicine. However, just because a side effect is mentioned, it does not mean everyone will get it.
The list of side effects might not have everything that the medicine maker knows about. To learn more about any other possible risks with this medicine, read the info that comes with it or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Why Ichthammol Use Has Gone Down
Not enough proof it works
Even though many people used it, there is no clear scientific evidence that ichthammol really does what it is supposed to. Stories from patients and old-time remedies just were not good enough when more strict proof was required. Without data from well-controlled studies, doctors stopped suggesting it as a cure for everything.
Better treatments came along
Also, new kinds of medicines like corticosteroids and antibiotics became more popular. These newer drugs were made with more science and worked better with fewer side effects. So, doctors started recommending these instead.
Worries about safety
There were also worries about whether ichthammol was safe, especially if it could get into the bloodstream and be toxic. People started to get concerned about the stuff that came from crude oil shale. Regulators and doctors became more cautious about unsupported claims.
Why They Stopped Selling Products with Ichthammol
FDA Rules Changed
The FDA, a group that looks at medicine ingredients, started to be more careful about things like ichthammol. They wanted better labels and more tests for old products, and that was hard for companies. It was easier for them to just stop using ichthammol.
Worries About Being Sued
Since there was not much proof that ichthammol worked well or was safe, drug companies were afraid of getting sued if they kept selling it. So, most companies decided to stop making ichthammol products to avoid legal trouble.
People Liked Different Things
People started to prefer medicines that doctors recommended and science-supported. They did not want old-fashioned remedies like ichthammol that smelled bad and were used by their grandparents. So, even before the products went away, fewer people were using them.
The Slow Disappearance of Ichthammol
Not in stores anymore
In the 1990s, you could not find ichthammol creams and ointments in most stores because big companies stopped making them. The little bit of leftover stock on shelves started to run out as people switched to newer products. The only places still making custom ichthammol formulas were small local pharmacies.
Still used in special cases
Today, people still use ichthammol for some things, like treating horse hooves and certain pet shampoos. However, it is not common in human medicine anymore. Even in these special cases, its use is going down because there are better options.
New medicines take its place
For most skin problems that ichthammol was used for, drug companies have come up with new products that use better and more modern ingredients like antibiotics, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, and others that have clear proof they work.
Why They Stopped Using Ichthammol for More Than Just Not Working Well
Did not Look or Smell Nice
Ichthammol had a strong, stinky smell and looked messy, making it hard for people to like. Other medical staff focused on making patients comfortable and easy to use, so ichthammol seemed old-fashioned. It could also leave stains on your skin and clothes, which was not great.
Connected to Old Remedies
Because ichthammol came from traditional and home remedies, people thought of it as something that was not backed by science, like those “snake oil” treatments. People believed it was an old-fashioned cure used by folks who did not have access to good care.
No Support from Big Drug Companies:
Ichthammol fell out of favour because nobody big in the medicine business wanted to spend money on testing it or promoting it. Instead, they went for new, patented things that could make them more money. So, generic stuff like ichthammol got replaced.
The Meaning of Ichthammol Going Away
People’s Thoughts About Medicine Changed
When they stopped using ichthammol, it showed how our society started to trust science and careful research more for medicine. We relied less on old stories and people’s experiences and cared more about results from studies that were reviewed by experts. What worked became more important than what we always did.
We Lost Something Special
When ichthammol disappeared, we also lost a unique part of the history of medicine. Its special appearance and smell were things only this product had, and newer medicines do not have these. Some people still feel nostalgic about this special thing from the past.
There are some people who look back with fondness on ichthammol. They remember it as a part of their home medicine kits when they were young. Some folks still like it because it feels familiar, even though it’s not perfect. However, there is not much of it left from the old days.
The Future of Medicine Ingredients
Testing for What Works
The story of ichthammol shows that things that have not been proven to work with good science might disappear. Companies do not want to sell old medicines if there is no proof that they help and are safe from careful tests.
People Like Natural Remedies
However, some people are interested in natural remedies. If good tests show that traditional medicines really work, there might be people who prefer plant-based options instead of man-made chemicals. However, these natural things also need to be tested well.
Tradition vs. New Ideas
Just having a long history is not enough to keep things like ichthammol around. Companies need to spend money on new research and new ideas if they want to mix old ways with what we know now. Nostalgia can only do so much.
Even though ichthammol was used in old remedies, it could not stay because there was no good proof it worked. Doctors and people wanted treatments they knew worked. However, some people still like it because it is different.
The lesson from stopping ichthammol is that medicine needs research, not just old ideas. Even if it means losing old things we like. Companies need to make old cures better with proof, not just believing in old ways. However, for some, the smell of ichthammol stays in their memories.Checkout More: Why is Ichthammol Discontinued?
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