Long-term management that combines new and old kinds of therapy is the recommended approach for treating eczema.
That opinion comes from international dermatology experts in a report in the May issue of the British Journal of Dermatology.
Eczema is an itchy rash that affects many infants and children. It affects between 10 percent to 15 percent of children under age five in developed countries and the number of cases are increasing.
Corticosteroid creams only for the short term
Previously, doctors focused on treating acute attacks of eczema with short courses of corticosteroid creams. Safety concerns have led to restrictions on the intensity and duration of topical corticosteroid use, especially in small children and in delicate areas of the body such as the face, neck and skin folds.
This new report says that new medications called calcineurin inhibitors should be used to relieve eczema symptoms over the long-term. These new medicated creams turn off specific inflammatory cells in the skin that cause eczema-related redness and broken skin.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors are not steroids and don't cause the skin atrophy, blood vessel growth, glaucoma or growth retardation associated with corticosteroids, the experts note.
The new treatment approach was adopted by experts from 10 countries who attended the second International Consensus Conference on Atopic Dermatitis. The conference was sponsored by a grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which makes a calcineurin inhibitor medication.