What's new in atopic eczema? An analysis of systematic reviews published in 2007 and 2008. Part 2. Disease prevention and treatment

NHS Evidence-Skin Disorders, Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (Impact Factor: 1.09). 10/2009; 35(3):223-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2009.03734.x
Source: PubMed


This review summarizes clinically important findings from systematic reviews indexed in bibliographical databases between August 2007 and August 2008 that dealt with disease prevention (six reviews) and treatment of atopic eczema (seven reviews). Regarding disease prevention, two independent systematic reviews found some clinical trial evidence that ingestion of probiotics by mothers during pregnancy might reduce the incidence of subsequent eczema. Another review failed to find any clear benefit of prebiotics in eczema prevention. Although furry pets are often cited as causing allergic disease, a systematic review of observational studies found no evidence that exposure to cats or dogs at birth increases eczema risk. One very large review of studies of breastfeeding found some evidence of a protective effect on eczema risk, although all the studies were limited by their observational nature. A German group has attempted an overview of eczema prevention studies with a view to informing national guidelines. In terms of eczema treatment, two systematic reviews have confirmed the efficacy of topical tacrolimus ointment. Another review of 31 trials confirms the efficacy of topical pimecrolimus, although many of those trials were vehicle controlled, which limits their clinical utility. A review of 23 studies of desensitization therapy for allergic diseases found some evidence of benefit for eczema, which needs to be explored further. Despite the popularity of antistaphylococcal therapies for eczema, a Cochrane Review of 21 trials failed to show any clear benefit for any of the therapies for infected or clinically noninfected eczema. Another Cochrane Review dealt with dietary exclusions for people with eczema and found little evidence to support any dietary exclusion, apart from avoidance of eggs in infants with suspected egg allergy supported by evidence of sensitization. A review of 13 studies of probiotics for treating established eczema did not show convincing evidence of a clinically worthwhile benefit, an observation that has been substantiated in a subsequent Cochrane Review.

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Available from: Hywel Williams, Jul 16, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: This review summarizes clinically important findings from nine systematic reviews indexed in bibliographical databases between August 2007 and August 2008, dealing with the definitions, causes and consequences of atopic eczema (AE). One review of diagnostic criteria found that out of 10 sets of criteria, only the UK refinement of the Hanifin and Rajka criteria have been adequately tested (in 19 studies). Another review of 20 named outcome measures found that only three [SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD), the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and the Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM)] had been tested and found to perform adequately. In terms of risk factors for developing disease, a review found that birth by caesarean section increased the risk of asthma and hay fever but not eczema in offspring. A review of cohort studies also found evidence that adverse psychological factors in early life predispose to more atopic disease and a worse prognosis. Another review found that filaggrin gene mutations were a consistently strong risk factor for AE, with a person carrying one of these mutations being over three times more likely to exhibit eczema. It has been suggested that eczema might protect against some forms of cancer, and a detailed systematic review of brain cancers that included 53,233 participants from eight case-control and cohort studies found that having atopic disease was associated with a 39% reduction in glioma risk, a finding that was also present for just those with AE (odds ratio 0.69, 95% CI 0.58-0.82). A further review of case-control and cohort studies failed to find any association between keeping furry pets at birth and subsequent risk of eczema, although pet fur might still exacerbate established disease. In terms of disease consequences, a review found that eczema was the commonest cause of chronic sleep loss in young people, affected the whole family. A review of four economic studies from the US found that the annual cost of AE in the States was as high as $3.8 billion when indirect costs are included.
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