BACKGROUND: Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common chronic inflammatory disease. The causal factor of the disease is still unknown, but early investigators focused on the role of Malassezia yeasts. These yeasts are also normal skin commensals, thus their importance as pathogens in this disorder came to be doubted. However, it was subsequently found that treatment of seborrheic dermatitis with an antifungal agent not only resulted in clinical improvement but also reduced the number of Malassezia yeasts on the skin. OBJECT: The purpose of this study is to confirm relationship between seborrheric dermatits and Malassezia yeast, and to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of oral itraconazole in the seborrheic dermatitis. METHODS: Using the scrub-wash technique in the glabella and swabbing technique in the scalp, the number of cultured Malassezia yeasts were counted in 30 patients with seborrheic dermatitis and 20 control persons. The patients took itraconazole, 100mg/day, during 4weeks. The clinical and mycologic score were measured at the initial evaluation, followed after 2weeks and 4weeks RESULT: The number of Malassezia yeasts in patient with seborrheic dermatits were significantly higher than in normal control group. There was statistically significant decrease in the clinical and mycological score after a 4 week trial of oral itraconazole in the seborrheic dermatitis group. CONCLUSION: This study indicates that Malassezia yeast may be one of the important causative factor of seborrheic dermatitis and itraconazole plays an important role in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis
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