Let’s meet some eczema (atopic dermatitis) treatments
There are many aspects of creating an eczema treatment plan and learning about effective
is part of that. But when it comes to prescription treatments, there’s a lot to keep track of, including the current treatments. From topicals (creams or ointments), to injections, to pills, we'll help you discover as much as you can so you can talk to your doctor about what you’ve learned. Your doctor will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan for you.
Breakdown: Prescription topicals have been some of the most common eczema treatment options for decades and are available in a range of strengths and forms (ointment, cream, lotion, spray). Although some topicals contain steroids, some do not. Two examples of prescription topical treatments for eczema are triamcinolone and hydrocortisone.
How they may help: Topicals can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. When used as prescribed, some people can achieve clinical improvement and disease control because topicals help reduce inflammation and improve the skin barrier at the sites where they are applied.
Breakdown: Systemic therapies are medications that can be given orally or through injection. Traditional systemic treatments include cyclosporin and methotrexate. Some are recommended only for short-term use when eczema is taking a heavy toll on your body or quality of life.
How they may help: Traditional systemics may work by acting on the immune system itself to reduce inflammation and reduce severe flare-ups.
Breakdown: Oral small molecules come in pill form and work to block certain parts of your immune response to reduce inflammation. JAK inhibitors are examples of oral small molecule treatments for eczema.
How they may help: Oral small molecules focus on certain parts of the immune system to reduce inflammation. Learn more about
Breakdown: Biologics (or, biological agents) are injectable treatment options derived from living organisms (like human DNA). They specifically target parts of your overactive immune system. Interleukin inhibitors are examples of biologic treatments for eczema.
How they may help: By targeting certain parts of the overactive immune system, biologics can help decrease the inflammation that’s associated with eczema. Learn more about
Breakdown: For some people, eczema symptoms improve in the summer months—due in part to their extended exposure to sunlight. That's the thinking behind using phototherapy (or light therapy) as a prescribed treatment for eczema, when topicals alone aren’t enough.
How it may help: Multiple forms of light (like narrowband and broadband UVB and UVA light) have been shown to reduce inflammation, decrease itching, increase vitamin D production (which can help with healing), and help the skin fight bacteria. Phototherapy can be used alone and in combination with some other treatments to help calm chronic symptoms.
Treatment double-feature: Reactive and proactive
Maybe you’ve heard about reactive and proactive approaches to treatment before, and maybe you haven’t. Either way, we’re going to help you understand what they are, and how they may help control your eczema in different ways. The Eczema HQ Team is on the job.
Reactive: A short-term, as-needed approach to care that addresses times when new symptoms appear and times when you experience flare-ups. Using a reactive approach is when you treat your eczema when you notice symptoms, inflammation, or a flare-up appears.
Proactive: A long-term, continuous approach to care that addresses the chronic—defined as persistent, recurring, and long-lasting—nature of eczema. Using a proactive approach is more scheduled, and helps to steadily target overactive inflammation.
The Takeaway: While neither treatment approach is better, both can be useful, and they can also be used in combination with each other. The only way to know what is right for you is to discuss treatment options, and your treatment goals, with your doctor.
Interested in learning more about treatment?