Calamine is either a mixture of zinc oxide (ZnO) with about 0.5% ferric oxide (Fe2O3) or a zinc carbonate compound. It is the main ingredient in calamine lotion and is used as an anti-pruritic (anti-itching agent, attributed to the presence of phenol in the formulation) to treat mild pruritic conditions such as sunburn, rashes, poison ivy, poison oak, chickenpox, and insect bites and stings. It is also used as a mild antiseptic to prevent infections that can be caused by scratching the affected area, and an astringent to dry weeping or oozing blisters and acne abscesses.
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In a 1992 press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that no proof had been submitted showing calamine to be safe for use or effective in treating bug bites, stings, and rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. The press release listed a total of 415 over the counter (OTC) drug ingredients which the FDA proposed banning for specific uses which are as yet unproven.
In a September 2, 2008 document, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended applying topical OTC skin protectants, such as calamine, to relieve the itch caused by poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
- Calvert, James B. "Zinc and Cadmium". Physics. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- ScienceLab.com, Inc. "Calamine, Powder, USP". Alphabetical Listing of Chemicals. ScienceLab.com, Inc. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Martin (ed), Elizabeth A. (2012). Concise Medical Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. "calamine". ISBN 9780191727016.
- Richards, Alan W. "Zinc processing". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "Calamine cream and lotion". netdoctor. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- The South African Medicines Formulary: ANTIPRURITICS AND TOPICAL ANAESTHETICS
- The Good Housekeeping Book of Child Care
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Poison ivy - oak - sumac rash
- Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Hives
- Soothing Remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
- "Banning 415 Ingredients from Seven Categories of NonPrescription Drugs". Press Release. FDA. P92-27. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009.
- September 2, 2008 FDA Document
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