The efficacy of '0.05% Clobetasol + 2.5% zinc sulphate' cream vs. '0.05% Clobetasol alone' cream in the treatment of the chronic hand eczema: a double-blind study

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008 May;22(5):531-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2007.02533.x. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


Background: Many therapeutic modalities have been suggested for treatment of the chronic hand eczema. Despite good immediate efficacy of some of these treatments, there is high recurrence of the dermatitis following cessation of the treatment.

Aim: Regarding the beneficial effects of the zinc sulfate on the skin, we designed a double blind study to evaluate the efficacy of the '0.05% Clobetasol + 2.5% zinc sulphate' cream versus '0.05% Clobetasol alone' cream in the treatment of the chronic hand eczema.

Subjects and methods: This study was a double-blind, right to left, prospective, clinical trial. In total, 47 patients with chronic hand eczema admitted to dermatology center of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences were selected and their right hand or left hand were selected at random to be treated with either the '0.05% Clobetasol + 2.5% zinc sulphate' cream or '0.05% Clobetasol alone' cream twice daily for 2 weeks. All of the patients were treated for 2 weeks and were followed up at weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 after starting the treatment. For determining the severity of chronic hand eczema, we assessed and scored 4 different characteristics of the lesions including redness; scaling; lichenification and pruritus. The data were analyzed using SPSS program (release 13) and statistical tests including Mann-Whitney test.

Results: Overall, 47 patients (94 samples) were evaluated. All of these patients had similar and symmetrical lesions on their right and left hands. Out of them, 35 patients were females and 12 patients were male. In all of the evaluated characterisitics, the '0.05% Clobetasol + 2.5% zinc sulphate' cream was more effective than '0.05% Clobetasol alone' cream (P < 0.05). The recurrence rate of eczema was significantly lower in the group treated with this combination treatment (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: With regard to the encouraging results of the combination treatment with Clobetasol + zinc sulphate, we suggest that in a more extensive clinical trial, the efficacy of this treatment against chronic hand dermatitis be evaluated. In addition, evaluation of this combination therapy against other inflammatory dermatosis seems to be logical.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Astringents / administration & dosage
  • Astringents / adverse effects
  • Astringents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clobetasol / administration & dosage
  • Clobetasol / adverse effects
  • Clobetasol / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eczema / drug therapy*
  • Eczema / pathology
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Hand / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Zinc Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Zinc Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Zinc Sulfate / therapeutic use*


  • Astringents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Ointments
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Clobetasol