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Medications Used to Fight Eczema

Thursday, May 13th

Medications Used to Fight Eczema

While there is no cure for eczema, a skin disorder identified by red, scaly, bumpy patches; there are several options that have been successful in controlling the condition. In many cases, medication has been able to lengthen the period of time between eczema skin rashes and lessen the severity of each episode.

Medications Used to Handle Eczema

Here is a brief overview of each of the prescription medications used to combat eczema:

  • Steroids - Topical steroid creams have long been the staple of prescribed eczema options. Corticosteroids are rubbed on the skin and block the substances in the body that cause inflammation. There are also several milder steroids like low-strength corticosteroids and hydrocortisones that can be prescribed. Since the stronger steroid creams have negative side effects including thinning of the skin, growth problems, stretch marks, and infection, they are only used for limited times during intense flare ups. The milder creams, though, can be used continuously. In some severe cases of eczema, systemic steroids are used. These are steroids that are injected into the body or taken by mouth.
  • Antibiotics - Eczema is an itchy condition that can lead to a secondary infection caused by scratching. When this happens, antibiotic ointments or pills can be prescribed.
  • Sedating Antihistamines - These are usually taken at night and ease the itching associated with eczema and promote sleep. Since they cause drowsiness, sedating antihistamines are not ideal for daytime relief. Non-drowsy antihistamines should be used during the day.
  • Immunosuppressive Drugs - While controversial, these drugs can be helpful in severe cases of eczema that do not respond to other products. These drugs work by blocking some of the body's immune cell production and lessen the effect of other immune cells. Since there are serious side effects associated with these drugs they are only used during severe flare ups. Some of the side effects associated with these medications are kidney problems, nausea, tingling or numbness, headaches, and an increase in cancer risk.
  • Topical Immunomodulators (TIMs) - TIMs are a new class of steroid-free drugs that are now being used in mild to moderate cases of eczema. They are applied as a topical cream and work by lessening the immune cell response of the skin. These are often a better option over steroid creams because TIMs do not have the side effects associated with long-term steroid cream use. In some cases, TIMs have been used in conjunction with steroid creams. The steroid creams are used during times of intense flare ups and the TIMs are used for suppression.

Keep in mind that many of these medications are not recommended for use in small children. And since eczema normally appears within the first few years of life, there are quite a bit of young sufferers out there. TIMs, though, offer hope. Two of these drugs have been recommended for use in children as young as age two. Continued research may uncover more medications that can be used in young children and will hopefully one day reveal a cure for eczema.

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