A review of MG217 coal tar products for the treatment of psoriasis.
MG217 products (some with coal tar, some with salicylic acid) are manufactured by a company called Triton Consumer Products, Inc. Both coal tar and salicylic acid are mainstream topical medications used in psoriasis. As Triton states, coal tar will reduce the symptoms, and salicylic acid will loosen scales to allow other medications better access to the live skin (see the sections on Coal Tar andSalicylic Acid for more detailed information). Triton reports the effects of these drugs quite well (even their “Skin Care Tips” seem like good advice to me).
I can fault Triton for having no information on the side effects of these drugs, though. The lack of information on coal tar increasing photosensitivity takes big points off, as those who work in the Sun, for instance, could find themselves burning when they used to just tan. Yes, the warnings appear on the products themselves, but I feel it’s better to know these things before ordering the products.
MG217 Medicated Tar Ointment is 2% coal tar, which is a reasonable amount. The Medicated Tar Lotion is only 1%, but they suggest using it as a “maintenance” treatment, after the majority of symptoms have been eliminated with other products. The Medicated Tar Shampoo is 3%, which seems a little on the high side (although some products carry 20%), but it is a shampoo, and most of the medication won’t reach the scalp, and will also be slightly diluted with water, probably.
MG217 Sal-Acid Ointment and Sal-Acid Solution are both 3% salicylic acid, which seems to be the norm for psoriasis products.
Triton also makes an MG217 Medicated Tar-Free Shampoo, which is made with salicylic acid and colloidal sulphur, and is only for the treatment of severe dandruff, so I won’t discuss it here.
Except for the mention of the Sal-Acid products containing vitamin E, one mention of jojoba and some conditioners in the shampoos, there is no mention of any other inactive ingredients, either on the web site or on the packaging itself (for the Coal Tar Ointment, at least). As some people have known problems (such as allergies) to some common topical product ingredients, I find the lack of this information to be somewhat irresponsible, to say the least. At the worst, of course, these unlisted ingredients are things like Plutonium or biological wastes, but I sort of doubt that.
Back in the Spring of 1999, I attempted to get ahold of Triton via the email link on their web site. I haven’t tried again, but I hope things have changed. It took them about a month for them to reply to my simple request for information. If you do try to contact the company, try the 800 number, first, is my advice. They will provide a list of drugstores in your area that carry their products, so perhaps that makes up for their disturbingly-slow email response.
November 11, 1999, Update: Either I got lucky, or Triton has improved its attention to its email account. I sent an email asking about the other ingredients in their products, and received a response in only two days. Good for you, Triton!
I was informed, in this email, that Triton will have new packaging soon which will carry a full ingredients list. In the meantime, they did send me the list of other ingredients for the MG217 Medicated Coal Tar Ointment:
Seems like pretty standard “ointment stuff,” to me. The question remains as to why they don’t publish the ingredients on their web site, perhaps another email will answer it…