Skin with eczema rash is usually dry, scaly, red and inflamed. Current remedies for managing eczema include:
1- Moisturising creams and emollients.
These products relieve some of the symptoms of eczema, by providing moisture to the skin and also prevent moisture loss through the skin barrier. Abrupt change in the weather and also windy conditions will result in eczema flare-ups. Use of moisturising creams and ointments are useful in managing the eczema, however they are not an effective treatment.
2- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Eczema is an autoimmune condition and invariably, once the immune system has been activated, due to an external stimuli, such as a scratch or graze or infection due to bacteria or viruses, then this might lead to an eczema flare-up. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as steroidal creams and ointments, are typically the first line of treatment prescribed by the GPs. For the more severe cases, often oral corticosteroids are used, but once again they should only be used for a short period of time.
Use of steroidal products to treat eczema is an effective treatment regime in the short term; usually less than a week. Unfortunately, in many instances the eczema rash will persist and the longer term use of steroidal creams and ointments will lead to thinning of the skin. Furthermore, with longer use, the steroidal product becomes less effective and a higher dosage is required to treat the condition. The paradoxical effect of using steroidal products is that over time, the patients develop a dependency on the steroid and in some instances this leads to steroid withdrawal, which results in severe skin rash and itching.
There are other anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Pimecrolimus, that are prescribed for the treatment of eczema, but these often have a number of side effects.
3- Coal Tar creams
Coal tar is a less effective, but cheaply made topical treatment for eczema. It is generally well tolerated, but when using this product, it is important to refrain from sun light. Users also complain about the smell and that it stains their clothing.
There is emerging evidence that coal tar is a carcinogen and it is no longer being recommended as a treatment therapy.
4- Immune suppressants
Immune suppressant drugs work by suppressing the immune response. This can be achieved by inhibiting cell proliferation of the immune system, which might leave the patient open to infection, lack of immune surveillance.
- Cyclosporine is a medication first used to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ, such as a kidney or a heart.
- Methotrexate is a medication used frequently in psoriasis and different types of arthritis.
- Mycophenolate mofetil is used in transplant patients and for other diseases of the immune system.
These immune suppressant drugs are potent anti-inflammatory drugs, that reduce the ability of the immune system to mount an immune response. In the case of an autoimmune condition, such as eczema, it will prevent the immune system from attacking the body, but also leave the body open to a number of side effects and risks. Immunosuppressants have some potential side effects, including:
- Increased risk of infections
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Increased risk for certain types of cancers
- Increased blood pressure with cyclosporine
- Increased risk of kidney damage with cyclosporine and methotrexate
- Risk of liver damage with methotrexate
5- ENDOR™ – New safe treatment for Eczema
There is now a new product called ENDOR™ Cream for mild to moderate cases and ENDOR™ 3.5 for moderate to severe eczema. ENDOR™ is based on the discovery of a natural product, produced by the immune cells, that signal the overactive immune response back to normal levels. ENDOR™ products are a safe alternative for the treatment of autoimmune dermal conditions. For more information, please click here.