Join Clinical Trials for Eczema
Eczema (Atopic dermatitis)
The term eczema is used to refer to chronically itchy, inflamed areas on the skin. Eczema often occurs alongside asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Although it typically occurs on the arms and behind the knees, eczema can occur on any location of the body. The normal course of eczema is one that gradually flares and subsides in a somewhat cyclical manner. Its cause is unknown, but heredity and immunity are believed by most experts to be likely involved in its onset.
Eczema causes red and/or brown patches to develop on the skin, as well as severe itching. It may also lead to the formation of small red bumps that can leak fluid onto the skin. Individuals who suffer from eczema often have thick, cracked, or scaly-appearing skin, which frequently becomes raw due to constant scratching.
Complications associated with severe eczema include skin infections as well as permanent eye damage. Due to its cosmetic and health-related implications, individuals with eczema may seek out clinical trials in order to find new ways of treating their condition when other methods have failed. Fortunately, there is a considerable amount of research currently being conducted with the purpose of helping to discover new and more effective eczema treatments.
What Will Eczema Clinical Trials Be like?
The types of procedures used in eczema clinical trials will ultimately depend on the specific nature of the study and what aspect of eczema is being studied. Provided below is a list of common procedures, tests, and assessments that may be incorporated into eczema clinical trials:
- Detailed physical examination
- A questionnaire or face-to-face interview to provide details related to your history of eczema, which may include questions related to the following:
- Date you first developed eczema
- Noticeable triggers
- Use of cosmetic and personal hygiene products
- Family history of eczema
- Use of prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements.
- Treatments you have attempted to use for your eczema.
- You may also be asked to avoid wearing lotions, perfumes, colognes, or scented make-up on the day(s) of your appointment.
- Questionnaires to evaluate your stress level and/or emotional well-being.
- Blood tests
- Skin biopsy
- Dietary logs
- Photographs of your skin
- Use of lotions, creams, oral medications, or laser light therapy.
Typical Eczema Clinical Trial Protocol:
Specific examples of clinical trials for eczema might include the following:
- A randomized trial comparing two different concentrations of a new prescription cream designed to treat eczema. This trial would require participants to apply a topical lotion or solution to their eczema patches two to three times a day over a 12 week period. Participants would be observed at regular three-week intervals to document any changes in the appearance and itchiness of their patches, and have photographs taken of their skin to document progress. At the conclusion of the study, the two groups would be compared to determine if one particular concentration of the cream was more effective than the other.
- A study to determine if specific dietary changes (e.g., elimination of dairy, increased intake of fiber) are effective at reducing eczema flare-ups in individuals with a family history of eczema as well as an underlying diagnosis of asthma.
- A study designed to determine if the use of a newly-developed laser therapy is effective and safe for treating eczema in children.
- A randomized clinical trial in which individuals with eczema are randomly assigned to receive treatment with a newly-developed skin patch designed to deliver medication directly to eczema patches, or to receive a placebo patch.
A brief word about randomized trials and placebos:
Many clinical trials involve the comparison of an investigational treatment to a “standard” treatment. Some studies determine which therapy a patient receives through a process known as randomization, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational treatment or the standard treatment.
On occasion, a trial will investigate the use of a standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus a placebo. Placebos are inactive or “sham” treatments that are identical in appearance to the active treatment but have no therapeutic value.
Placebos are necessary to help determine if adverse effects that occur during the clinical trial are the result of the investigational treatment or due to some other factor. They also allow researchers to measure the effects of the active treatment and observe what would have happened without it.
In rare instances where no standard therapy exists, or when a new drug or therapy is being investigated (such as the fourth clinical trial example described above), the investigational treatment might be compared to a placebo alone. In these types of trials, those patients who are randomized to the placebo group do not receive an active treatment.
It is important to know that placebo-only trials are only conducted when scientifically necessary and when patients have been adequately informed that they may end up receiving the placebo rather than the active treatment. It is very important to note, however, that no one should ever participate in such a placebo trial when there is a widely available and highly effective standard treatment already in existence for their particular disease or condition.
Trial Eligibility and Medical Information Needed:
The type of clinical trial you may be eligible for often depends on many factors. Therefore, it is important to know as many details as possible with regard to your specific circumstances when searching for clinical trials. Examples of information you may want to have on hand include the following:
- Your history of treatment for eczema
- Your prior and current diagnoses of any other health conditions or diseases
- Your current medications (including vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements)
Suggested Search Terms:
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