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Atopic Dermatitis: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023

What is the treatment?

Atopic Dermatitis is also known as Atopic eczema.

How is the treatment done?

Atopic Dermatitis (AD), is a skin condition that affects many. In fact it is eczema of the most common type. This skin disease causes red rashes that are extremely itchy. The arms, legs and the cheeks are commonly effected.

This condition generally starts from childhood itself, mostly in the first few months after birth. This condition can be extremely severe and cause much discomfort. While in some children the condition may improve and disappear as they grow older, in case of other it may just get worse. The condition may improve in later childhood, but can reappear during adulthood as well.

AD is more likely to occur in patients who suffer from asthma or hay fever. The exact cause of Atopic Dermatitis is yet unknown, in spite of the extensive research that has been done on it. While the condition is genetic, the reason why it transfers from parents to offspring is not known. Research reveals that about 10% of the population across the world suffer from Atopic Dermatitis at some point in their life.

While eczema is a skin condition that results because of an allergic reaction, Atopic Dermatitis is known to be a more severe form of the same. Patients with AD can suffer from dry skin, hand dermatitis, herpes, staph and problems of the eye.

The treatment of Atopic Dermatitis, depends on how severe the problem is. Topical medication, phototherapy, immunosuppressant drugs, biological drugs and even steroids may be used to treat AD.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A variety of treatment options are available for patients who suffer from eczema. The treatment suggested generally depends on the severity of the condition. Topical creams and steroids are the most common form of treatment for AD. The most common type of medication that is prescribed to soothe the symptoms of eczema are topical corticosteroids. Such medication helps relieve redness and reduces skin itchiness and inflammation. Corticosteroids have been in use for more than 50 years, especially for the treatment of conditions that result in inflammation. These steroids are classified into various types depending on their strength. While some steroids are very strong other may be mild or light.

Apart from topical treatment phototherapy is also a treatment option. A special machine is used that emits ultraviolet B rays to treat the condition. This form of treatment help reduce itching and inflammation as well.

Some doctors also prescribe immunosuppressant drugs that curb the patient’s immune system and biologic drugs that only target some parts of the immune system in the body.

The treatment options available for eczema are many, but the most common is topical treatment where steroid are prescribed to appease the symptoms of AD.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Any person or child suffering from the symptoms of AD is eligible for topical form of treatment. The medication is generally prescribed to be applied regularly to keep the symptoms of AD at bay.

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Are there any side effects?

There is no such eligibility criteria for topical treatment, but patients with severe AD can opt for alternative method of treatment, such as phototherapy etc.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Some side effects of topical treatment include- atrophy (the skin becomes thin), lichenification (the skin becomes thick, stretch marks and skin darkening.

How long does it take to recover?

When it comes to topical steroid application one should apply the medicine in the affected area only. The medicine is the most effective if it applied after you take a bath. Once the drug has been applied, you should apply moisturizer on top. The use of large quantities of steroid over a period of time should be avoided.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Topical treatment manages the symptoms of AD, thus there is no specific time of recovery. The medicine may take a few minutes to take effect.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

A 15gm tube of topical cream will range anywhere between Rs50-Rs120 or even more in India.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Topical treatment only reduces the symptoms of the condition and does not actually treat AD itself. Thus the treatment is continuous.

References

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Written ByDr. Shaurya Rohatgi MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy,MBBSDermatology
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