Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. It can last long. You may need to try various atopic dermatitis eczema treatments over months or years to control it. If regular moisturizing and other self-care steps don't help, you may need the following atopic dermatitis eczema treatments:
- Creams that control itching and help repair the skin.
1. A corticosteroid cream or ointment. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Overuse of this drug may cause side effects, including thinning skin.
2. Creams containing drugs to affect your immune system. They are used by people older than age 2.They help control the skin reaction. Apply it as directed, after you moisturize. Avoid strong sunlight when using these products.
- Drugs to fight infection. You need an antibiotic cream if your skin has a bacterial infection, an open sore or cracks. Taking oral antibiotics for a short time can help to treat an infection.
- Oral drugs that control inflammation. For more-severe cases, you may need oral corticosteroids — such as prednisone. These drugs are effective but can't be used long term for potential serious side effects.
- Newer option for severe eczema. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a new, injectable biologic (monoclonal antibody) called dupilumab (Dupixent). It is used to treat people with severe disease who do not respond well to other treatment options. This is a newer medication, so it doesn't have a long track record in terms of how well it helps people. Studies have shown it to be safe if used as directed. It is very expensive.
- Wet dressings. Wrap the affected area with topical corticosteroids and wet bandages. Sometimes this is done in a hospital for people with widespread lesions because it's labor intensive and requires nursing expertise. Or, ask your doctor about learning how to do this technique at home.
- Light therapy. If you don't get better with topical treatments or rapidly flare again after treatment, you may need light therapy.
Though effective, long-term light therapy has harmful effects. It may cause skin aging and higher risk of skin cancer. For these reasons, it is less commonly used in young children and not given to infants. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of light therapy.
- Counseling. Talking with a therapist or other counselor may help a lot if you are frustrated by your skin condition.
- Relaxation, behavior modification and biofeedback. These approaches may help you stop scratching.
It's important to recognize the condition early so that you can start treatment. So please go to your doctor early.
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