Thanks to the effective, safe new treatments for psoriasis and eczema, millions of Americans who suffer from these conditions can enjoy a brighter future, according to researchers at the annual meeting of the NYC American Academy of Dermatology.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes red, itchy patches of inflammation on the skin, and is suffered by almost 15 million Americans (psoriasis and eczema compared). The only available treatment up until recently were steroid creams that were applied to the skin patches. Although they reduce the inflammation, they also interfere with the immune system.
These creams can cause side effects, including an increased risk of infection, easy bruising, stretch marks, and thinning of the skin – although they are still considered the standard treatment for the condition. Extended use of these creams, such as in treating eczema, causes more side effects.
However, the introduction of two new non-steroid treatments has become easier as these topical immunomodulators sooth the eczema effectively. Protopic and Elidel do not interfere with the immune system as they work by producing anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
The fact that the redness of the skin is obvious to other people makes eczema a very difficult disease emotionally and socially. In addition to this, the severe itching can cause patients to be awake all night scratching, according professor of dermatology at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California, Nancy J. Anderson, MD.
She explains that there is a good safety profile with the new generation of immunomodulators. Anderson says that although they are relatively new with no long-term data, she is impressed so far.
Patients who use steroids can build up a resistance to them. This will mean they will need larger doses in order to get the same relief. However, Anderson points out that this does not seem to be the case with the new immunomodulators.
She also says that while oral protopic is not FDA approved at this stage for treating eczema, it has proved to be an excellent alternative treatment for severe eczema in other countries.