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Research Reveals New Treatments for Atopic Dermatitis

Posted: March 24, 2009

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Barrier creams and engineered emollients

Barrier creams and engineered emollients are newer FDA-approved topical agents designed to improve the barrier function of the skin that is compromised in atopic dermatitis. They work by adding lipids, ceramides—natural lipids that act as water regulators—or other agents that help to make damaged skin more normal. These topical preparations include water-based emulsion with N-palmitoylethanolamide; MAS063ADP, with glycyrrhetinic acid; and ceramide-dominant products.

“Barrier creams and engineered emollients appear very helpful in decreasing symptoms and the need for stronger prescription products, but these medications are fairly new and dermatologists are in the process of assessing their optimal use in atopic dermatitis treatment regimens,” said Dr. Eichenfield. “Initial assessments demonstrate the damaged skin can be improved showing less dryness due to less water loss, less inflammation and less need for more potent anti-inflammatory agents.”

Systemic therapies

For a significant subset of atopic dermatitis patients of all ages, systemic therapy is necessary to control their condition. While systemic therapies for atopic dermatitis pose safety concerns due to their potential side effects, Dr. Eichenfield reported a few of the newer immunosuppressive agents and newer biologic therapies are being used successfully, even in children.