RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – Ask Craig Summerhill what it’s like to have eczema. He knows of no other life. He’s had the skin disorder for 56 years.
“At times exasperating, the inflammation is really irritating at times. But you know you learn to live with it. Everyone has his own conditions they have to carry through life,” says Summerhill.
The skin disorder is characterized by inflamed, red, itchy skin. It can be scaly and cracked. It’s caused by the body’s response, or rather overreaction to a substance or substances.
Prior to now, patients could use topical ointments or even steroids to keep the disease under control. But steroids have their own downsides, sometimes worse than eczema itself.
With the introduction of two new medications, patients now have more effective options. Both of them suppress the proteins in the body that contribute to inflammation.
“The proteins that are elevated and then the immune system starts to attack the skin and go into the skin. Well, the Dupixent decreases that response and the whole cascade that happens,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson, a board-certified dermatologist with Nevada Center for Dermatology.
For Summerhill it means two injections a month. This treatment is reserved for moderate to severe cases of eczema. Summerhill says after more than a year, he’s really seen a difference in the way he feels.
“I have a skin condition that is good enough to wear shorts and get out and hike and of course wear sunscreen,” he says.
For other patients, a cream called Eucrisa can be used. Children as young as two years old all the way to adults with eczema are appropriate for the treatment.
One study shows 50% of those on Eucrisa showed clear or nearly clear skin in 4 weeks.
Researchers believe the medications can be used long-term, but studies still need to be done to determine that.