McMaster researcher pioneers eczema treatment in Hamilton


Published December 20, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Derek Chu via McMaster University

A McMaster researcher has pioneered a new guideline for treating eczema.

Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic skin condition which leaves the patient with large patches of dry, itchy, cracked skin. It most often appears in children and youth but can occur at any age. It affects about 20 per cent of the population. While there’s no cure, there are numerous treatments, usually medicated moisturizer creams, most people will outgrow the condition.

On Dec 18, Dr. Derek Chu, an allergy specialist and McMaster associate professor, released a series of diagnostic and treatment guidelines through The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. His recommendation includes extensive studies into the effectiveness of various treatment options, including corticosteroid treatments and bleach baths.

“These guidelines are distinguished from others through systematic reviews of the evidence with multidisciplinary panellist engagement, adherence to GRADE – a rigorous guideline development process, as well as the involvement of the patient and caregiver voice from start to finish,” Chu said.

While the guidelines are extensive the major highlights include

  • Shared decision making between patient and doctor is vital
  • flare-ups are best treated with medicated creams or ointments, corticosteroids and limiting topical antibiotics
  • how to rapidly gain control of eczema during a flare-up and keep it controlled by using topical treatments regularly
  • When to consider dilute bleach baths or allergen immunotherapy
  • Not changing diets to improve eczema severity and
  • Optimal use of advanced therapies like oral and injection medicines and ultraviolet light.

“The new recommendations reflect the evolution of developing trustworthy recommendations for optimal patient care,” Chu concluded.


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