Eczema  - Treatments

Introduction Causes Symptoms Treatments

The goal of treatment for eczema is to relieve and prevent itching, which can lead to infection. Since the disease makes skin dry and itchy, lotions and creams are recommended to keep the skin moist. These solutions are usually applied when the skin is damp, such as after bathing, to help the skin retain moisture. Cold compresses may also be used to relieve itching.

Treatments for Eczema

Over-the-counter products

Such as hydrocortisone -- or prescription creams and ointments containing stronger corticosteroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation. For severe cases, your doctor may prescribe short courses of oral corticosteroids. In addition, if the affected area becomes infected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection-causing bacteria.
  • The FDA has approved two drugs known as topical immunomodulators (TIMs) for the treatment of moderate eczema. The drugs, Elidel and Protopic, are skin creams that work by altering the immune system response to prevent flare-ups.
  • On March 10, 2005, the FDA warned doctors to prescribe Elidel and Protopic with caution due to concerns over a possible cancer risk associated with their use.
  • As of January 2006, these two creams carry the FDA's strongest "black box" warning on their packaging to alert doctors and patients to these potential risks. The warning advises doctors to prescribe short-term use of Elidel and Protopic only after other available eczema treatments have failed in adults and children over the age of 2.

 

Antihistamines

Other eczema treatments include antihistamines to reduce severe itching, tar treatments (chemicals designed to reduce itching), phototherapy (therapy using ultraviolet light applied to the skin), and the drug cyclosporine for people whose condition doesn't respond to other treatments.

 

Preventing Eczema Flare-ups


Eczema outbreaks can usually be avoided or the severity lessened by following these simple tips.

  • Moisturize frequently
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity
  • Avoid sweating or overheating
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid scratchy materials, such as wool
  • Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents
  • Avoid environmental factors that trigger allergies (for example, pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander)