Advances in Treating Eczema

By

Erin Azuse

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It is believed that 10 % of Americans suffer from eczema, a chronic medical condition characterized by itchy, red skin.  For many people, standard eczema treatments like topical corticosteroids, just aren’t enough to provide relief. But thanks to advances in science, researchers are learning more about how eczema develops at the cellular level. This is leading to some exciting breakthroughs in eczema treatment.

Two new eczema treatments have been released in the last year.

Eczema is actually a general term used to refer to several inflammatory skin conditions. Of these, atopic dermatitis is the most common. After many years with no new treatments on the market for atopic dermatitis, the FDA recently approved two new medications. Though they are used differently, both attempt to slow down or stop the inflammatory process from occurring within the body.

  • Eucrisa (crisaborole): This non-steroid topical treatment can be used for mild-to-moderate eczema. Our bodies have an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) that plays a role in inflammation. Eucrisa can block PDE4 from causing too much inflammation, and as a result, improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

  • Dupixent (dupilumab): This is an injectable medication known as a biologic, meaning it’s created from living cells, like human DNA. Biologics act on specific points in the immune system. In the case of Dupixent, it blocks certain proteins called interleukins that cause the inflammation leading to atopic dermatitis. Dupixent can be used for moderate-to-severe eczema, but like all biologics, it is very expensive.

Understanding the genetic component of atopic dermatitis may be key in developing new eczema treatments.

Scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact cause of atopic dermatitis, but it’s been believed to be a combination of genetics and the environment.  Now, however, we may be one step closer.  Scientists have recently discovered that a mutation in a gene called CARD11 may lead to the development of atopic dermatitis.

Caring for sensitive skin and eczema can be challenging, but with the right tips and tricks, you can give your skin the love it needs.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 28, 2017

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