Tinea Pedis

Under double-blind, randomised test conditions 104 subjects with tinea pedis (athlete's foot) used 10% w/w tea tree oil cream or 1 % tolnaftate or placebo creams as treatment (Tong et al 1992). In this study, significantly more tolnaftate-treated patients (85%) than tea tree oil (30%) and placebo-treated (21%) patients showed conversion to negative culture at the end of therapy. However, tea tree oil cream reduced symptoms as effectively as tolnaftate 1%. A more recent randomised, double-blinded, controlled study by the same group used a higher concentration of tea tree oil (25% and 50%) for the treatment of interdigitaI tinea pedis in 1 58 patients over 4 weeks (Satchell et al 2002a). In the 50% tea tree oil group 68% of patients had a significant response and 64% achieved negative mycology. In the 25% tea tree group, 72% of patients responded and 50% were cured. The placebo responder rates were 39% and 31 % respectively, with 3% of patients using tea tree developing dermatitis.

TOENAIL INFECTION (ONYCHOMYCOSIS)

A randomised, double-blind multicentre study involving 177 volunteers found that 6 months' treatment with 1 % clotrimazole solution (applied twice daily) or 100% tea tree oil (applied twice daily) produced similar results, improving nail appearance and associated symptoms (Buck et al 1994). Additionally, 3 months after either treatment ceased, continued improvement or complete resolution was observed in approximately half of participants.

One randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study investigated the effects of a combined tea tree oil (5%) and butenafine hydrochloride (2%) cream in chronic toenail onychomycosis and found that after 6 weeks, 80% of patients achieved a cure compared with none using placebo cream (Syed et al 1999).

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