Integrative Medicine as Adjunct Therapy in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis—the Role of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dietary Supplements, and Other Modalities

Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Wilmington, DE, USA.
Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.46). 06/2012; 44(3). DOI: 10.1007/s12016-012-8315-1
Source: PubMed


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the pediatric population, with rates reportedly as high as 18-25 %. Westernized medicine has traditionally used a combination of emollients, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and immunomodulating agents to combat this often frustrating disease. Of late, integrative medicine has become the subject of more research as concerns grow regarding prolonged use of corticosteroids and their side effects in pediatric patients. Probiotics have been extensively studied to define their role in the treatment and prevention of AD in children. Unfortunately, results are varying showing significant improvement in some patients but not all. With regard to prevention, studies show that the use of probiotics during pregnancy does decrease the incidence of AD in children. Prebiotics and synbiotics are also a conceivable option for prevention of AD. A number of studies on Chinese herbal medicine have been performed, with a collective result of symptom improvement and decreased levels of inflammatory cytokines. However, there were reports of asymptomatic transaminitis in a few patients that warrant further testing. While the herbs tested in more recent randomized clinical trials were free from corticosteroids, a previous study showed high levels of dexamethasone in unlabeled herbal eczema creams. Vitamins and minerals have also been suggested as an alternative treatment of AD. Studies however have not yet demonstrated improvement of AD with vitamin or mineral supplementation. Topical vitamin B(12) is the exception to this; however, no topical vitamin B(12) preparation is available for use. Finally, relaxation techniques are also being investigated as adjunctive methods of treatment, but well-designed scientific studies are lacking.

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    • "Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin condition with extensive pruritus, erythema, excoriations, and scaly skin lesions [1]. Westernized medicine has conventionally used a combination of emollients, corticosteroids, antibiotics, calcineurin inhibitors, UV phototherapy, and systemic immunomodulating therapies like cyclosporine and interferon gamma-1b [1, 2]. Long-term conventional treatments for AD are occasionally difficult because of the chronic, recurrent nature of AD; thus, there is an increasing need to find better therapies that have minimal side effects [2, 3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To introduce and determine the clinical benefits of a detoxification program that combines fasting with fluid therapy for refractory cases of severe atopic dermatitis (AD), we performed a retrospective chart review of inpatients with AD from March 2010 to February 2012 at the Department of Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology and Dermatology of Korean Medicine in the Kyung Hee Medical Center. Patients were treated with the detoxification program, which combined fasting with fluid therapy, and herbal medicine, herbal wet wrap dressings, or acupuncture treatment when clinically necessary. The primary outcome was the SCORAD total index. The secondary outcome was the pruritus visual analogue scale (VAS) score in SCORAD as evaluated by a trained dermatology specialist. Among the 130 inpatients that have done detoxification, 7 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean total SCORAD scores significantly decreased from 64.67 ± 11.72 to 26.26 ± 11.01 (P = 0.018) after the detoxification program. There was also a significant decrease in VAS score for pruritus from 8.00 ± 1.16 to 2.57 ± 0.98 (P = 0.016) between admission and discharge. We suggest that fasting with fluid therapy as a complementary and alternative treatment method may provide some benefits for patients with refractory cases of severe atopic dermatitis.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    Raquel CS Barcelos · Cristina de Mello-Sampayo · CTD Antoniazzi · HJ Segat · H Silva · ME Bürger · Beatriz Silva-Lima · LM Rodrigues

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013
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    ABSTRACT: The science of food allergy has been rapidly evolving before our eyes in the past half century. Like other allergic disorders, the prevalence of food allergies has dramatically increased, and coupled with the increased public awareness of anaphylaxis due to food allergy, this has driven an explosion in basic and clinical research in this extremely broad subject. Treatment of food allergies has evolved and practices such as food challenges have become an integral part of an allergy practice. The impact of the increase of food allergy has driven package labeling laws, legislation on emergency treatment availability in schools and other public places, and school policy. But to this day, our knowledge of the pathogenesis of food allergy is still incomplete. There are the most obvious IgE-mediated immediate hypersensitivity reactions, but then multiple previously unidentified conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, milk protein allergy, food-induced atopic dermatitis, oral allergy syndrome, and others have complicated the diagnosis and management of many of our patients who are unable to tolerate certain foods. Many of these conditions are not IgE-mediated, but may be T cell-driven diseases. The role of T regulatory cells and immune tolerance and the newly discovered immunological role of vitamin D have shed light on the variable clinical presentation of food allergy and the development of new methods of immunotherapy in an example of bench-to-bedside research. Component-resolved diagnostic techniques have already begun to allow us to more precisely define the epitopes that are targeted in food allergic patients. The development of biological modulators, research on genomics and proteomics, and epigenetic techniques all offer promising avenues for new modes of therapy of food allergy in the twenty-first century.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology
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