Atopic dermatitis is chronic and its symptoms can be stubborn. Patients may have to try a variety of treatments over a long period to manage the condition. Even with effective treatment, due to its chronic nature, atopic dermatitis symptoms recur.
Early diagnosis of the condition is essential so that patients can begin treatment as soon as possible. While in some cases at-home remedies and self-care strategies such as moisturizing on a regular basis can be effective, in severe cases of atopic dermatitis, more aggressive forms of treatment may be necessary. These treatments may include:
Topical treatments. You may be prescribed a corticosteroid ointment to relieve itching and improve the skin’s appearance. These creams are usually applied to the affected areas after moisturizing thoroughly. Ointments containing a corticosteroid mustn’t be used long-term, however, as they can cause serious side effects.
There are some other topical therapies containing substances known as calcineurin inhibitors such as pimecrolimus. These ointments target the immune system, usually prescribed to individuals over the age of 2 to curb the skin reaction. Just as a corticosteroid cream, these creams are also applied to affected areas after moisturizing. It is important to avoid direct sunlight with these creams.
Antibiotics for infection. If there are blisters or fissures in your eczema rashes, this may be a sign of a bacterial infection. In cases of an infection, patients are typically prescribed oral or topical antibiotics.
Inflammation-reducing drugs. In severe atopic dermatitis cases, doctors may recommend the use of oral corticosteroids like to lessen inflammation. Despite their efficacy, prolonged use of these medications must be avoided due to potential adverse side effects.
Biologics for severe atopic dermatitis. There is also a new FDA-approved biologic drug by the name of Dupixent (dupilumab). This medication is typically reserved for severe cases where no other treatment options have proven effective. While highly effective, it is also quite expensive.
Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy. This therapy is also reserved for individuals with symptoms that have not improved with more moderate topical treatments or those who experience flare-ups immediately following a form of treatment. The most common form of UV light therapy is known as phototherapy, which entails subjecting the skin to regulated amounts of natural sunlight. Other types of light therapy utilize artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) and narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB), sometimes in conjunction with other medicines. Even though it is highly effective, prolonged phototherapy comes with certain risks such as early aging and skin cancer.
Wet wraps. Applying a doctor-recommended topical ointment to the affected parts of the skin and then covering them up using wet wraps is also an effective way of controlling atopic dermatitis. Properly wrapping wet bandages may require some know-how, which is why some people prefer to get this done at a hospital, but you can also consult with your doctor about getting the hang of this technique.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/ © TharakornPosted on May 5, 2023