Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on Oral azoles for the Treatment of Pityriasis Versicolor

  • Rowena Natividad S. Flores-Genuino
  • Belen L. Dofitas
  • Leonila F. Dans
  • Ma. Lourdes E. Amarillo
Keywords: oral azole, ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole, tinea versicolor, pityriasis versicolor, systematic review, meta-analysis


Background. Oral azole drugs are a second-line option for the treatment of pityriasis versicolor but evidence on their efficacy and safety is unclear.

Objectives. To determine the efficacy and safety of oral azoles in the treatment of patients with pityriasis versicolor. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE, LILACS, and HERDIN, from inception to the period between January to February 2014. We did not restrict the search by language or publication status.
We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the efficacy of oral azoles with placebo or no treatment, with topical agents, other oral azoles or dosing regimens in the treatment of pityriasis versicolor, and that measured any of the pre-specified outcomes (mycologic cure, clinical cure, recurrence, duration to cure, timeto-cure, and quality of life). For adverse effects, we also included non-randomized studies (NRS). We used Cochrane methods to select studies, extract data, assess risk of bias, pool studies, and calculate for treatment effects.

Results. We included 38 RCTs (n=2894) and 56 NRS (n=3452). Overall, there were few pooled studies and evidence was low to moderate quality.
Oral azoles were more effective than placebo (mycologic cure, RR 11.34, 95% CI 4.90, 26.28; 3 RCTs, n=131; I2=0%; low quality of evidence) and as effective as topical agents (mycologic cure, RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.86, 1.21; 4 RCTs, n=232; I2=60%; moderate quality of evidence).
There were few adverse effects and were mostly minor and transient.

Conclusions. Oral azoles may be more effective than placebo, and are probably as effective as topical agents in the treatment of PV. Triazoles are probably as effective as ketoconazole. Adverse effects were few, mostly minor, and transient.


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