Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate: A Review of Clinical Uses

Dermatol Surg. 2017 Nov;43(11):1313-1320. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001143.


Background: Sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS) is Food and Drug Administration approved for treatment of varicose veins, but numerous other off-label applications have been reported.

Objective: To describe the clinical uses of STS, as well as efficacy and adverse effects.

Methods: Review of studies searchable on PubMed from 1938 to 2016 describing clinical uses of STS to determine efficacy and adverse effects associated with various applications.

Results: Sodium tetradecyl sulfate has shown efficacy in the treatment of varicose veins, telangiectasias, hemangioma, pyogenic granuloma, cherry angioma, Kaposi sarcoma, lymphangioma circumscriptum, digital mucous cyst, ganglion cyst, glomangioma, angiokeratoma of Fordyce, pseudocyst of the auricle, and verruca. Commonly reported side effects include pain, erythema, swelling, hyperpigmentation, telangiectatic matting, and ulceration. Serious side effects such as anaphylaxis, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and myocardial infarction have also been reported. Most sources were case reports and small prospective studies, as such the strength of data supporting many uses is limited by small sample sizes and lack of controls.

Conclusion: Although not always the most effective method of treatment in off-label usage, use of STS has been frequently selected for a variety of applications for reasons of simplicity, low cost, lack of availability of technologically advanced equipment, and intricacies related to anatomic location.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Off-Label Use*
  • Sclerosing Solutions / adverse effects
  • Sclerosing Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Surface-Active Agents / adverse effects
  • Surface-Active Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Varicose Veins / drug therapy


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate