Treatment of Eczema

A study from England shows that strong cortisone-type creams used for a few days are as effective as weak cortisone-type creams used for weeks and months. Another study shows that tacrolimus creams are as effective as strong cortisone creams and do not cause thinning of the skin.

Eczema is a common skin disease that causes horrible itching, usually starts in childhood, involves the front of the arms and back of the knees, but can go anywhere on the skin, and is seen primarily in allergic people. Cortisone-type creams control this horrible rash, but can cause permanent thinning of the skin. These studies show that it is more effective to use a potent cortisone-type skin cream for a few days than the weaker hydrocortisone creams forever, and that tacrolimus creams are better than cortisone creams because they do not thin the skin to worsen eczema.

1) Randomized controlled trial of short bursts of a potent topical corticosteroid versus prolonged use of a mild preparation for children with mild or moderate atopic eczema. British Medical Journal. BMJ 2002;324:768.

2) J of Allergy and clinical Immunology April, 2002.

Checked 10/9/14

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