Ammonium Bituminosulfonate is an anti-inflammatory drug used in the treatment of skin diseases. The product should be applied as a black ointment and as a solution to the area of ​​the skin to be treated. Medicines containing ammonium bituminosulfonate are pharmacy-only and over-the-counter.

What is ammonium bituminosulfonate?

Ammonium Bituminosulfonate is an anti-inflammatory drug used in the treatment of skin diseases.

Ammonium Bituminosulfonate is a natural product. It is also known under the name Ichthyol and is obtained from sulfur-rich and fossil fish relicts containing oil shale by dry distillation.

In the next step - sulfonation and subsequent neutralization of individual crude shale oil oil fractions - ammonium bituminosulfonate is formed as a sulfonate salt in an aqueous solution. The natural product ammonium bituminosulfonate is a mixture of many components. Unlike tars, ammonium bituminosulfonate contains only minor traces of pro-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

With ammonium bituminosulfonate can treat skin diseases such as eczema, boils, acne and psoriasis. It has also been shown to be helpful for inflammatory rheumatic complaints. Most of the active ingredient is used as a train ointment in concentrations of 10, 20 and 50 percent. The positive dermatological effect of ammonium bituminosulfonate was discovered by German physician Paul Gerson Unna.

The trade names of the monopreparations produced from these are Ichtholan®, Thiobitum®, Ichthyol® and Ichtho-Bad®. As a combined preparation, ammonium bituminosulfonate is commercially available, for example, under the names Aknederm®, Aknemycin® and Hewelsymphon®.

Characteristic of the ammonium bituminosulfonate ointment is a tarry odor. If used, it may cause black discoloration of the laundry.

Pharmacological action

Ammonium Bituminosulphonate has an anti-inflammatory effect and thus belongs to the anti-inflammatory drugs. It also has antibacterial, antiseborrheic, antiekzematös, antipruriginös, antimyzetisch and circulation-stimulating.

Ammonium bituminosulfonate inhibits hyaluronidase, sebaceous secretion, leukocyte migration, and the release of chemotactic factors from granulocytes. It also reduces dandruff by reducing cell proliferation. Highly concentrated, it can cause mild skin irritation.

The active ingredient ammonium bituminosulfonate is composed of various organic substances. Of these, aromatics such as phenol are particularly effective. They have an antibacterial effect, inhibit sebaceous secretion and inhibit deeper inflammation of muscles and joints. Ammonium bituminosulfonate is composed of short-chain and long-chain molecules. Thanks to its short-chain molecules, it overcomes the skin barrier, combats the inflammatory process and also has a pain-relieving effect due to its anti-inflammatory effect.

The long-chain molecules in turn lead to an osmotic pressure gradient on the skin surface. The resulting pulling effect almost always succeeds in transporting pus accumulations to the skin surface, whereby abscesses heal more quickly. The tensile effect also reduces joint effusions and swelling in fiber and joint inflammations.

Medical application & use

The anti-inflammatory drug ammonium bituminosulfonate can be used to treat various types of inflammatory skin, muscle and joint disorders:

  • acne
  • boil
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • arthritis
  • muscle inflammation
  • abscesses
  • Onychitis

In addition, ammonium bituminosulfonate is recommended for the treatment of inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as:

  • arthrosis
  • arthritis
  • tenosynovitis
  • epicondylitis
  • periarthritis
  • bursitis

Ammonium bituminosulfonate is available as an ointment and as a solution, with the preferred use being as an ointment.

The active ingredient ammonium bituminosulphonate can, by virtue of the ointment, bring pus accumulations from deeper skin layers to the skin surface. Its anti-inflammatory effect also reduces pain. The typical symptoms of acne, for example, are very effective in relieving ammonium bituminous sulfonate by counteracting blockage of the sebaceous gland ducts, controlling the bacteria that inhabit it, and preventing its development into boils. Ammonium Bituminosulphonate has a disinfecting and softening effect.

Risks & Side Effects

Except occasionally possible local skin reactions such as rash, redness, itching or burning Ammonium Bituminosulfonat causes no irritation of the skin.

Since it is mucous membrane irritant, contact with the eyes should be avoided. Likewise, it must not get into open wounds. Ammonium Bituminosulphonate is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to shale oil preparations as well as to pregnant women and nursing women above a drug concentration of 20%.

Children under the age of 14 should only be given ammonium bituminosulfonate in lower concentrations of 10% to a maximum of 20% as their skin is particularly sensitive. Because ammonium bituminosulfonate promotes the absorption of other substances into the skin and enhances their action, this drug should not be used in parallel with other skin medicines. Tags: 

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