Commonly called constitutional eczema, atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammation of the skin that occurs with the sudden formation of dry, itchy skin and red blotches with blisters. It can affect both adults and the elderly and is associated with asthma or allergic rhinitis. It may affect the infant or adult fascia. The affected sites are varied and this disease appears in subjects who have dry and overactive skin. In Italy about 35 thousand people suffer from it, of which 8 thousand are affected by a serious form. For a few months now, after authorization by AIFA, a new drug for the treatment of atopic dermatitis has been on the market. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of the Dermatology Unit of the Humanitas Clinical Institute, spoke about it in an interview.
The new biological drug
It is also commonly called constitutional eczema and is manifested by the sudden formation of dry and itchy skin and red blotches with blisters. Dupilumab, recognized a few months ago by the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) as one of the innovative drugs, is the first biological and non-oncological drug indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. The drug promises to improve the quality of life of patients and to cheer up patients’ discomfort, especially the severe itching and lesions that occur in different parts of the body, even after the first administration. But how is it administered? “We talk about subcutaneous injections to be carried out every 15 days – explained Antonio Costanzo, head of the Dermatology Unit of the Humanitas Clinical Institute -. The balance on the effectiveness of the drug in the patient is made after 12-16 weeks, but often those who suffer from the disease notice the first significant improvements already after a month. The drug, which is a monoclonal antibody, is specifically designed to simultaneously inhibit the signaling of interleukins 4 and 13, key inflammatory factors. This allows to quickly obtain and maintain over time significant improvements on the three dimensions of atopic dermatitis: lesions, itching and quality of life.
How to prevent atopic dermatitis?
Over-cleaning and the use of more or less aggressive soaps end up impoverishing the skin of the outer layers that protect it. It is best to dry the skin gently, dabbing excess moisture, rather than rubbing it, being careful:
– Avoid applying moisturizers, emollients and perfumes because they are not tolerated by atopic subjects.
– Avoid synthetic fibre garments that keep the skin moist.
– As soon as possible, expose yourself to the sun with criteria and without using sun creams.
– Use soothing cream at the first hint of itching of the skin.