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Update on the management of chronic eczema: new approaches and emerging treatment options

Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
  • Review
  • Medicine


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common disease with worldwide prevalence, affecting up to 20% of children and 3% of adults. Recent evidence regarding pathogenesis has implicated epidermal barrier defects deriving from filagrin mutations with resulting secondary inflammation. In this report, the authors comprehensively review the literature on atopic dermatitis therapy, including topical and systemic options. Most cases of AD will benefit from emollients to enhance the barrier function of skin. Topical corticosteroids are first-line therapy for most cases of AD. Topical calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus ointment, pimecrolimus cream) are considered second line therapy. Several novel barrier-enhancing prescription creams are also available. Moderate to severe cases inadequately controlled with topical therapy may require phototherapy or systemic therapy. The most commonly employed phototherapy modalites are narrow-band UVB, broadband UVB, and UVA1. Traditional systemic therapies include short-term corticosteroids, cyclosporine (considered to be the gold standard), methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, and most recently leflunamide. Biologic therapies include recombinant monoclonal antibodies acting on the immunoglobulin E / interleukin-5 pathway (omalizumab, mepolizumab), acting as tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors (infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab), and acting as T-cell (alefacept) and B-cell (rituxumab) inhibitors, as well as interferon γ and intravenous immunoglobulin. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability are reviewed for each medication.

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