Anyone searching for effective eczema treatments and dreaming of a cure someday knows, it can be an emotional roller coaster ride. When scientists identify a previously unknown outbreak trigger for what textbooks call atopic dermatitis, hopes rise. But it’s awfully hard to stay positive when the next painfully itchy flare-up strikes.
Although there are a number of eczema treatments already available and giving relief to many people, too many still suffer. So researchers and scientists keep searching for new treatments, and better understanding of this common but still incurable skin disease.
The good news is that recent research does offer eczema sufferers hope for a future with itch-free, unbroken, healthy skin. In fact more than 40 studies are currently underway to find a cure. In the meantime, a couple of promising new eczema treatments are finally available.
Here’s the rundown…
Crisaborole: New Ointment for Eczema
Crisaborole (brand name Eucrisa) is a topical (locally applied), non-steroidal ointment. It’s meant to control the symptoms (itching, redness, inflammation, skin cracking/bleeding) of mild-to-moderate eczema, allowing skin to heal.
Being non-steroidal is a big plus for this promising new eczema treatment. While topical corticosteroid ointments can offer symptomatic relief, they can also have potentially dangerous side effects for some people after 3+ months of use.
After being proven safe and effective with less side effects in clinical trials, Crisaborole received FDA approval. This eczema treatment is intended for mild to moderate cases of the skin disorder, for patients aged 2 and older. It’s the first new topical eczema treatment that has been approved in more than a decade. Hopes are high that it will ease the suffering of millions worldwide.
Dupilumab: New Eczema Injection
Dupilumab (brand name Dupixent) is another promising new eczema treatment. It’s given by weekly or biweekly injection to individuals with uncontrolled, moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. This is a treatment only for adults, not for pediatric cases.
The hope is that people who have had no luck with topical treatments may now be able to benefit from these injections. And clinical trial results were promising. A large majority of trial participants saw a 50 percent or greater reduction in the severity of their eczema. Even more encouraging is that a healthy number of them are now enjoying almost completely clear skin.
Time will tell, but just the availability of an alternative to topical creams and ointments is a major step forward in eczema treatment.
New Understanding, New Hope for a Cure
Efforts to finally find a cure for atopic dermatitis have been in progress all over the world for years. Still no cure. But a big breakthrough last year can only help the cause moving forward.
Researchers at Newcastle University in England appear to have found a causative factor to explain why people get eczema in the first place. It seems to come down to a deficiency in levels of the human protein called fillagrin.
According to a Newcastle team spokesman, “We have shown for the first time that loss of the filaggrin protein alone is sufficient to alter key proteins and pathways involved in triggering eczema. This research reinforces the importance of filaggrin deficiency leading to problems with the barrier function in the skin and predisposing someone to eczema.”
Needless to say, that discovery is lighting a fire under researchers around the globe. Much of their work can now thankfully focus on addressing the root cause of the disease, and finding a cure. Experts agree that as a result, prospects for a cure have never been better.
The maddening question that nobody can answer is of course…When?
Until we have an answer, know that the new (and some of the older) eczema treatments can still provide great symptomatic relief for many people. It’s just a question of partnering with a great dermatologist near you, and finding out what will work best for your particular skin, and your specific case of atopic dermatitis.