Alternative treatments for eczema sought since long-term use of corticosteroids a cause for concern

The prevalence of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is increasing among children, with rates as high as 18-25%. The long-term use of corticosteroids and their side effects are beginning to cause concern, alongside the use of emollients, antihistamines and immunomodulating agents.

Probiotics have been found to reduce AD in children when taken by pregnant mothers, though research does not show that they improve AD symptoms in treatment of children. Prebiotics and synbiotics may prevent AD.

Chinese herbal medicines have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms, but herbal creams have been found to have high levels of dexamethasone (an anti-inflammatory).

Vitamins and minerals have been put forward as a possible method of prevention, although as yet no studies have been carried out – with the exception of vitamin B12.

Relaxation techniques are also being developed as alternative methods of treatment, but well-designed scientific studies are lacking.

Source: Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology

June 2012


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