Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – Treatment – Mayo Clinic

Posted: August 14, 2017 at 11:46 am

Atopic dermatitis can be persistent. You may need to try various treatments over months or years to control it. And even if treatment is successful, signs and symptoms may return (flare).

It's important to recognize the condition early so that you can start treatment. If regular moisturizing and other self-care steps don't help, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments:

Creams that control itching and help repair the skin. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Overuse of this drug may cause side effects, including thinning skin.

Other creams containing drugs called calcineurin inhibitors such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) affect your immune system. They are used by people older than age 2 to help control the skin reaction. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Avoid strong sunlight when using these products.

These drugs have a black box warning about a potential risk of cancer. But the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has concluded that the risk-to-benefit ratios of topical pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are similar to those of most other conventional treatments of persistent eczema and that the data don't support the use of the black box warning.

Light therapy. This treatment is used for people who either don't get better with topical treatments or who rapidly flare again after treatment. The simplest form of light therapy (phototherapy) involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms use artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) and narrow band ultraviolet B (UVB) either alone or with medications.

Though effective, long-term light therapy has harmful effects, including premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. For these reasons, phototherapy is less commonly used in young children and not given to infants. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of light therapy.

Treatment for eczema in babies (infantile eczema) includes:

See your baby's doctor if these measures don't improve the rash or if the rash looks infected. Your baby may need a prescription medication to control the rash or to treat an infection. Your doctor may also recommend an oral antihistamine to help lessen the itch and to cause drowsiness, which may be helpful for nighttime itching and discomfort.

July 25, 2017

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Atopic dermatitis (eczema) - Treatment - Mayo Clinic

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