Dr Alice Rudd’s commentary based on her recent attendance at the College of Dermatologist’s 2019 ASM.
For a long time now, eczema management for Dermatologists has been frustrating process as the treatment armamentarium has been steroid creams and small doses of chemotherapy like drugs. This is problematic as atopic (allergy-based) dermatitis affects 30% of infants in Melbourne. And while some grow out of it, some definitely do not.
A group at Melbourne University is looking at the evidence base for preventing eczema and food allergy development by applying a barrier cream. If is thought that if we intervene early enough (as early as 2 weeks of age), with a good barrier emollient, we may be able to reduce the risk of initiation of the barrier dysfunction and therefore allergy development in atopic dermatitis.
Studies have looked at omega 3 and breast milk and found these do not help to reduce levels of atopic dermatitis. Similarly, studies have looked at probiotics and prebiotics during the pregnancy and newborn time and found that even though there is some evidence that infants may be protected, currently there is no recommendation for probiotics as an intervention in prevention of infant eczema.
The good news is that Australian studies continue to be done looking at supplementing pregnant women and infants with pre and probiotics, so watch this space. Dr Rudd is always keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s new in the dermatology sector and continues to bring this latest research to her patients.