Treatment with an ointment containing tacrolimus, an immune-suppressing drug, relieves mild-to-moderate Eczema in children, according to a report in the journal Pediatrics.
Tacrolimus has previously been shown effective in treating moderate-to-severe Eczema in children as young as 2 years of age and to be safe and effective for up to 4 years, the authors explain.
Dr. Lawrence A. Schachner from University of Miami and colleagues compared tacrolimus with inactive “placebo” as a treatment for mild-to-moderate Eczema in 317 pediatric patients.
Tacrolimus was successful in 50 percent of the children, whereas placebo was successful in just 26 percent, the authors report. Nineteen percent of the tacrolimus-treated patients were clear or almost clear of their skin allergy as early as day 4, the results indicate. In contrast, only 12 percent of patients treated with placebo responded so well.
Similarly, the improvement in the eczema area and severity scores by day 4 was significantly greater for the Tacrolimus group than for the placebo group, the researchers note.
Tacrolimus ( ta-KROE-li-mus) ointment is used for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. This is a skin condition where there is itching, redness and inflammation, much like an allergic reaction. Tacrolimus helps to suppress these symptoms which are a reaction caused by the body’s immune system. It can be used for short-term or long-term intermittent treatment. It is often used when other types of treatment are not working or not tolerated by the patient.
For more information check: Tacrolimus: General information
Tacrolimus was especially effective in relieving Eczema in the head and neck region.
Side effects were reported no more often in the tacrolimus group than in the placebo group, the investigators report.
“This study demonstrates that tacrolimus ointment...has a rapid onset of action and can be used safely and effectively for treating mild-to-moderate (eczema) in pediatric patients,” Schachner’s team concludes.
Tacrolimus “provides a steroid-free alternative to traditional (eczema) treatment in pediatric patients,” the researchers add.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, September 2005.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD