SSKI for Skin Health

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: SSKI – saturated solution of potassium iodide is a powerful anti-fungal and thyroid aid which when offered can help myriad dermatological challenges.

An Bras Dermatol. 2013 May-Jun; 88(3): 396–402. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20132377PMCID: PMC3754371PMID: 23793210

Language: English | PortugueseRosane Orofino Costa,1Priscila Marques de Macedo, 2Aline Carvalhal, 3 and Andréa Reis Bernardes-Engemann 4Author informationArticle notesCopyright and License informationDisclaimer

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Potassium iodide, as a saturated solution, is a valuable drug in the dermatologist’s therapeutic arsenal and is useful for the treatment of different diseases due to its immunomodulatory features. However, its prescription has become increasingly less frequent in dermatology practice. Little knowledge about its exact mechanism of action, lack of interest from the pharmaceutical industry, the advent of new drugs, and the toxicity caused by the use of high doses of the drug are some possible explanations for that. Consequently, there are few scientific studies on the pharmacological aspects, dosage and efficacy of this drug. Also, there is no conventional standard on how to manipulate and prescribe the saturated solution of potassium iodide, which leads to unawareness of the exact amount of the salt being delivered in grams to patients. Considering that dosage is directly related to toxicity and the immunomodulatory features of this drug, it is essential to define the amount to be prescribed and to reduce it to a minimum effective dose in order to minimize the risks of intolerance and thus improve treatment adherence. This review is relevant due to the fact that the saturated solution of potassium iodide is often the only therapeutic choice available for the treatment of some infectious, inflammatory and immune-mediated dermatoses, no matter whether the reason is specific indication, failure of a previous therapy or cost-effectiveness.


J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Oct;43(4):691-7.

Potassium iodide in dermatology: a 19th century drug for the 21st century-uses, pharmacology, adverse effects, and contraindications.

Sterling JB1Heymann WR.

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Potassium iodide (KI) is a useful drug in the dermatologic armamentarium. It is successfully used for inflammatory dermatoses, most notably erythema nodosum, subacute nodular migratory panniculitis, nodular vasculitis, erythema multiforme, and Sweet’s syndrome. KI is also successfully used for cutaneous and lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis. The precise mechanism by which KI acts is unknown. Although many minor side effects are common with this drug, major side effects can occur in pregnant patients and those with a history of kidney or thyroid disease. This article reviews the pharmacology, mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, and adverse effects of KI as a therapeutic agent.

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