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Bad itching has been successfully cured with this therapy

New therapy option against eczema successfully tested

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that has become more prevalent in recent decades. Although mild forms of the disease are often well treated with external treatments these days, there is little hope for those affected by severe atopic dermatitis. This can change quickly, thanks to a new form of therapy.

"The disease affects about eleven percent of all girls and boys in kindergarten and one to two percent of adults in Germany, much of the disease is chronic and difficult," reports the Hannover Medical School (MHH). Those affected suffer from dry, flaky and red skin that causes itching by itching and if the affected areas are clearly visible, a social stigma is added. Efficient treatment options are therefore urgently needed – but these were not yet available for the serious forms of the disease. However, researchers from the MHH and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) have successfully tested a new approach. Their findings were published in the journal "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology".

A new drug in tablet form can also help with severe forms of atopic dermatitis. (Image: SkyLine / fotolia.com)

Serious eczema can only be partially treated

"Atopic dermatitis has various causes, including irritants, allergens and microbial, hormonal and psychological influences," experts explain. In the treatment of cortisone compounds and the so-called calcineurin inhibitors that must be used externally, have been of central importance. According to the experts, only the immunosuppressive cyclosporin, which has many side effects, and the dupilumab antibody are available for the treatment of particularly severe forms.

Dupilumab somewhat difficult to use

Dupilumab has been available for about a year for the targeted inhibition of messengers of allergic inflammations and "represents a huge step forward in the treatment of critically ill patients," said Prof. dr. med. Thomas Werfel of the MHH clinic for dermatology, allergology and venerology. However, it does not help all patients well enough. In addition, the drug must be injected, which is particularly difficult to tolerate children who are particularly likely to suffer from eczema. The new drug that has now been tested is, however, intended for oral use.

New active substance for oral use

The new active substance, which can be taken as a tablet, had significantly improved the appearance of the skin in the tests on 98 patients. "Already after eight weeks, the proportion of diseased skin such as redness, blisters and scratch marks reduced by half," said the MHH. The drug is a "histamine-4 receptor blocker". This interrupts the process of inflammation and relieves itching by preventing the messenger from acting on histamine on the corresponding cells.

Histamine-4 receptor with a key role

"Laboratory and in vivo laboratory results in the mouse model, which we have been publishing continuously since 2005, suggested that the histamine 4 receptor is an interesting target for the treatment of atopic dermatitis," explains Professor. Werfel. Since then, researchers have conducted intensive research into the use of inflammatory skin diseases. "We assume that the histamine-4 receptor blocker works independently of the cause of atopic dermatitis and is currently investigating which patients can benefit most from the new therapy," Professor Werfel said.

No side effects detected

According to the scientists, no side effects were observed in the current study, due to the administration of the drug and now, with the participation of the team from Hanover, a larger international study with about 400 patients will optimize the dosage of this drug. go find it. "We have been working together on this subject for many years, and the project is a very good example of translational research, that is, of interdisciplinary medical research with the aim of translating the results into clinical application as quickly as possible," said Prof. dr. med. Manfred Kietzmann from the Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy or TiHo. (Fp)

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