Turmeric vs. clotrimazole cream for athlete’s foot

50% turmeric cream (1st and 2nd photo) versus Clotrimazole cream (3rd and 4th photo) on Day 1 and Day 28

Turmeric cream still remains to be inferior to clotrimazole when used to treat Tinea pedis (commonly known as athlete’s foot), reported RITM Dermatology Deputy Chief Resident Dr. Riza I. Sarne during the RITM Research Forum held last April 22, 2019.

“We had hoped to determine the medicinal potential of turmeric cream as an affordable antifungal agent for superficial fungal infections,” said Dr. Sarne. Tinea pedis is one of the most common skin diseases treated at RITM.

As presented by Dr. Sarne, select researchers from the RITM Dermatology Department led by Dr. Claudine Perlas conducted “A randomized, double-blind, controlled study on the safety and efficacy of 50% turmeric cream versus 1% clotrimazole cream as antifungal treatment among patients with tinea pedis at RITM.”

This study compared the efficacy of turmeric cream with clotrimazole based on the clinical efficacy grading scale of erythema, scaling, itching, margins, size, and KOH (potassium hydroxide). The study also compared the occurrence and severity of adverse reactions between the two treatments. Male and female RITM patients aged 18-65 were included in this study.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers determined that turmeric cream has comparable efficacy to clotrimazole only in the alleviation of itching, the reduction of margins, and in the potassium hydroxide (KOH) test. In all other aspects – color change, size, scaling – turmeric was found to be inferior. Further, turmeric cream was not well tolerated by the patients starting at day 14 of the treatment.

Despite the ineffectiveness of turmeric compared to clotrimazole, the researchers nevertheless recommend further studies to determine the efficacy of turmeric extract on other dermatophyte infections (such as tinea corporis).

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office