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Skin Health

Help for Eczema Sufferers

Scientists have developed a new medicine that may eventually give significant relief to people who suffer from eczema, the most common skin disorder.

The study was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study’s lead author, Lisa A. Beck, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, said the drug blocks the action of two key proteins involved in inflammation. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is caused by inflammation. The condition is characterized by severely dry skin, red wounds that may crust or ooze, skin thickening, and intense itching. In the most severe cases, it may lead to skin wounds, infections and sleep disturbance.

Current treatments for AD include topical and oral steroids. Phototherapy may also be prescribed, but its effectiveness is limited.

“We are encouraged by the consistent findings across these studies, which show that patients treated with dupilumab had a marked improvement in disease activity and itch,” Beck said. “At this point, dupilumab appears to be remarkably effective for adults with severe AD, although larger studies are needed to confirm its safety and efficacy.”

Patients in a clinical trial showed a 74 percent reduction in the severity of their eczema. In particular, they reported a dramatic change in itching.

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