Background: Novel treatments against for tinea capitis are needed, and the natural aminosterol squalamine is a potential topical antidermatophyte drug candidate.
Objectives: This phase II randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial aimed at testing the efficacy and safety of a three-week squalamine ointment regimen for the treatment of tinea capitis.
Patients: Males aged 6-15 years presenting with tinea capitis were treated with either topical squalamine ointment or placebo for 3 weeks. The primary endpoint was complete clinical cure. The secondary endpoints were the occurrence of local and/or systemic adverse events, mycological cure, and partial clinical response. Prospective follow-up of clinical adverse events was performed daily.
Results: Five patients were treated with 1% squalamine ointment and 15 with placebo. No complete cure was observed. No clinical or biological adverse event was recorded. A significantly (p = 0.03) better hair-growth score, indicating a partial clinical improvement of the tinea capitis lesion, was observed in the patients treated with squalamine compared to those treated with placebo.
Conclusion: This three-week squalamine ointment regimen was well tolerated and showed an encouraging partial clinical activity for the treatment of tinea capitis. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of topical squalamine alone against tinea corporis or in combination with a systemic antidermatophyte drug against tinea capitis.