New Eczema Medications
With eczema, you may start to feel that the treatments you had when you were younger are the pinnacle. Nothing better will ever come along, so you have to accept the symptoms that you continue to live with.
This situation may not actually be the case, though. Scientists, researchers and pharmaceutical companies are working tirelessly to bring forward new and better medications for eczema all the time.
Because of this emphasis on new developments, it may be time to revisit your eczema treatments with your doctor. Here are some of the latest treatment options available for eczema.
The New Wave of Eczema Treatments
The coming years promise to bring a wave of medications for eczema that move past the creams and lotions that have served to control symptoms for decades. Now, medications are sophisticatedly targeting systems in the body in new ways.
One medication which has caused significant excitement is called Dupixent, also known by the generic label dupilumab. First approved in early 2017, this medication created a great deal of interest within the eczema community and marked a new period in eczema treatment.
Dupixent is a biologic treatment that involves an antibody injected into the body to modify the immune system’s reaction. In people with eczema, their immune system overreacts and causes inflammation; Dupixent calms the overreactive system and lowers the risk of continued eczema symptoms.
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Dupixent, it was only for adults with eczema. As of March 2019, the drug became available for people as young as 12 in their treatment of eczema.
Another relatively new medication for eczema is called Eucrisa, known by the generic name crisaborole. Although this medication is another topical treatment like so many creams and lotions, it works differently.
Eucrisa works by targeting an enzyme in the body linked to inflammation. By regulating this enzyme, Eucrisa helps to limit inflammation and improve other eczema symptoms like:
- Thick skin
Eucrisa is available for people two years old and over with eczema.
New Eczema Medications Set to Release in the Future
These medications represent a turning point in the treatment of eczema, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years, another group of medication will release, hoping to improve the wellness and symptoms of people with eczema.
Some medications that are likely to find approval over the next several years include:
- Tralokinumab: a new biological drug that is some time away from widespread release. This medication will be very similar to Dupixent, but where Dupixent blocks two targets, this new medication will only block one. To this point, the trials have been highly successful and promising.
- A new class of medications to target enzymes: Pfizer is working on an oral medication that a person can take once each day to control eczema symptoms. If successful, this medication will target a new group of enzymes related to the inflammation that coincides with the condition.
- Baricitinib: an Eli Lilly product that could beat the Pfizer product to the market also involves changing the response of certain enzymes in the body.
With several other promising medications further away from reaching pharmacies, the world of eczema treatments could be changing rapidly over the next decade.
The Time-Tested Treatments for Eczema
Even with the excitement and promise of new treatments, some people find a satisfactory level of success by staying with familiar treatments. With decades of documented benefits, these treatments are comfortable and come with limited risks.
- Topical steroids: corticosteroids offer a range of benefits to someone with eczema, including relief from itchiness and dry skin. Available in a range of potencies, these medications can meet the intensity of your symptoms.
- Calcineurin inhibitors: options like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus do well to address all eczema symptoms, usually with fewer unwanted side effects than steroids. Unfortunately, a recent study found an increased risk of cancer linked to these medications (they now have a black box warning). However, while advocates of the medications challenge the validity of the data and these results, they remain a helpful option despite the risks.
- Antibiotics: when you have eczema, the dangers of bacterial infections are real. Topical antibiotics can help reduce the risk. Be careful, though; the over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics may result in antibiotic resistance.
- Photo-therapy: when other treatments fail to yield the desired results, many people look to photo-therapy to manage their eczema. When combined with a light-activated medication, photo-therapy can reduce and help to resolve the remaining symptoms.
- Immunosuppressants: this class of medications helps to limit eczema symptoms by temporarily suppressing the immune system. By slowing the reactivity, less inflammation occurs.
If you have eczema, you do not have to make all of your medical decisions alone. You should always do your best to work with your treatment team to identify both the benefits and risks of all treatment options.