Atopic Dermatitis is a skin condition that usually develops in early childhood and is more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
The main sign is a red, scaly and itchy rash that typically appears in the elbow creases and behind the knees but it can also appear anywhere!
Sometimes it can be an acute attack and topical steroids or even just some moisturizer can help keep it at bay, but if these do not work this is when we can look at biologic injections!
What can help eczema?
The itch can sometimes be unbearable to the point people can’t sleep and the rash itself is just a pain! Wet dressings come as a life saver to soothe and help cool the symptoms while moisturising the area to help heal the rash. Our dermatologists may prescribe you a certain medicated cream/ ointment or just some moisturiser depending on the condition of concern. Either way wet dressings can help you!
(1) Wet a crepe bandage with lukewarm water (you can add some bath oil into the water before-hand) and wring out excess water. You want it damp; not dripping wet as you have to normally have the dressing on for up to a few hours! If suffering large areas on your body you can also use an old long sleeve cotton top or leggings and use these as your “wet dressing.” (Much easier pulling on a stocking than wrapping a crepe bandage around)
(2) Apply prescription medicated topical steroid cream/ointment
(3) Apply Moisturiser over the top
(4) Apply wet dressing (either the crepe bandage or clothing)
You can put a pair of dry pyjamas/clothes over the top and sleep with it on for the night and by the morning you should be feeling better and had hopefully had a good night sleep! If you can only tolerate the wet dressings on your skin for a few hours at a time, that is fine too. It may take a few treatments to notice significant change however most of our patients notice a change in 24-48 hrs.
Other things that can help are not overheating the body, so cool and short showers, heater down low, not to many clothes on when inside and when sleeping at night.
If simple things like these are not helping over a couple of months then we look into biologic injections and one has just been approved for eczema on the PBS recently! Making it affordable for most people now! YAY! GOODBYE ITCHY DRY SKIN!
What are Biologic drugs?
Biologics, biologic therapies, or biological response modifiers, are drugs derived from living material (human, plant, animal, or micro-organism). They interfere with specific parts of the body’s immune system to treat and prevent immune-mediated inflammatory disorders and cancers. They are also called targeted therapies.
Biological agents work by interfering with specific components of the autoimmune response. Unlike general immunosuppressant’s that suppress the entire immune system, biological agents can fight more selectively and target only those inflammatory pathways nvolved in causing the specific disease.
How do I get on to a Biologic drug?
You will need to see a dermatologist to be prescribed this drug, the dermatologist will take a full history and determine your eligibility for these medications. Your skin condition severity will need to be fairly moderate or severe to be approved for this medication. It is also a bit of a process getting a patient on the drug, as patients must try over the counter medications and other treatments first and if your skin condition is still failing, then we can look to apply for the biologics! Biologics use to be very expensive but now some are on the PSB; which is great! This means the medications are around $40 a script; making it affordable for patients!
Biologics are administered through regular injections – the frequency depends on your skin condition. Patients normally find within 4-6 weeks an improvement in their skin, however this can sometimes take longer. Once treatment has kicked in people normally find around 90% clearance rate!
You will need to have your first injection done with our nurse in clinic or at your GP. Once you feel comfortable you will then be able to do the injections yourself at home. Normally you will get an injection every 2 weeks.Side effects from these injections are minor but you still need to be aware of the following:
-Conjunctivitis, eye dryness, redness, itching. Eyelid itching and swelling.
-Cold sores (on lips and skin)
– injection site reactions
We are SO EXCITED to be finally able to offer a treatment for people suffering with chronic eczema! With an easy injection every 2 weeks it could not be easier! Call our clinic to find out more and to get you started on your road to clear skin!