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Efficacy of Aloe vera/olive oil cream versus betamethasone cream for chronic skin lesions following sulfur mustard exposure: a randomized double-blind clinical trial.

Author(s): Panahi Y, Davoudi SM, Sahebkar A, Beiraghdar F, Dadjo Y, Feizi I, Amirchoopani G, Zamani A.

Affiliation(s): Research Center of Chemical Injuries, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Molla-Sadra Street, Tehran, P.O. Box: 19945-581, Iran. yunespanahi@yahoo.com

Publication date & source: 2012, Cutan Ocul Toxicol. , 31(2):95-103

BACKGROUND: Chronic pruritic skin lesions are among the common late complications of sulfur mustard intoxication. In the present randomized double-blind clinical trial, therapeutic efficacy of Aloe vera/olive oil combination cream in the alleviation of these lesions was evaluated and compared to that of betamethasone 0.1% cream. METHODS: Sixty-seven Iranian chemical warfare-injured veterans were randomized to apply A. vera/olive oil (n=34, completers=31) or betamethasone 0.1% (n=33, completers=32) cream twice daily for 6 weeks. Evaluation of pruritus severity was performed using a pruritic score questionnaire and visual analogue scale (VAS). RESULTS: Both treatments were associated with significant reductions in the frequency of pruritus (p<0.05), burning sensation (p<0.01 and p<0.001 in A. vera/olive oil and betamethasone group, respectively), scaling (p<0.01 and p<0.05) and dry skin (p<0.001) at the end of trial. Fissure and excoriation were only reduced in the A. vera group (p<0.05). The change in the frequency of hyper- and hypopigmentation lesions, blisters, erythema and lichenification did not reach statistical significance in any of the groups (p>0.05). Mean pruritus (p<0.05) and VAS scores (p<0.01 and p<0.05) were significantly decreased by the end of trial in both groups. The rate of improvement in the pruritus severity [defined as being classified in a less severe category (mild, moderate and severe)] was found to be comparable between the groups (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: A. vera/olive oil cream was at least as effective as betamethasone 0.1% in the treatment of sulfur mustard-induced chronic skin complications and might serve as a promising therapeutic option for the alleviation of symptoms in mustard gas-exposed patients.

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