Treatment of chronic atopic dermatitis consists of several different medications or therapies.
Prescribed treatments for chronic atopic dermatitis are usually topical creams or ointments. These topical medications will help to reduce the irritation and itchiness that comes with atopic dermatitis. They can also help to repair the area of the skin that has been affected.
Certain creams or ointments may contain corticosteroids which increase the risk of thinning of the skin if it used more than directed.
Another option is to use a cream that contains calcineurin inhibitors. These target the immune system and will help to reduce the effects of atopic dermatitis. There is a potential risk of obtaining skin cancer associated with calcineurin inhibitors.
Although prescribed medications are usually the immediate thought to treat chronic atopic dermatitis, sometimes therapies will also work.
By wrapping the affected area with wet bandages or wraps and a topical corticosteroid and leaving it on for approximately 20 minutes, a person can easily lessen the itching associated with chronic atopic dermatitis. Wet-dressing is a method that a person can learn to apply easily at home.
A newer treatment for people with more severe cases of atopic dermatitis (and cases that have not responded to at-home or topical treatments), involves exposing the skin to UV light. This is also known as light therapy.
Light therapy can incur side effects of premature aging of the skin and an increased risk of cancer, and because of these risks, it is not recommended for children or infants.
Counseling and behavior modification may also help a person cope with chronic atopic dermatitis. Counseling may allow a person to discuss how and why he or she is dealing with the skin condition. Through this method, patients learn to cope with the embarrassment and frustration that comes with atopic dermatitis.
Behavior modification therapies may also help people who have begun to make it a habit to scratch the affected area, which only makes their atopic dermatitis worse and more persistent.
All patients are advised to discuss their options with their doctor.
Featured Photo: DepositPhotos/Tharakorn