There are lots of medications out there to treat your atopic dermatitis and you’ve no doubt tried some of them already.
Research suggests that, for three out of five people living with moderate-to-severe AD, their condition is poorly managed which means they might not be getting the best medication to treat their condition1, or may need more information on how to use their current medications more effectively.
To begin with, there’s a number of factors to consider when identifying the treatment that will work best for you.
Perhaps the two most important are whether your AD is mild, moderate or severe and how well your current treatment is controlling your symptoms.
Although there is no cure right now, our understanding of AD, its causes, and the ways you can reduce its impact on your life is improving every day.
So, here's a quick breakdown of the various medications available for your AD to help improve your knowledge when discussing the different treatments with your dermatologist and working towards getting the long-term control you need.
Creams applied directly to your skin.3,4 Emollients and moisturisers protect against moisture loss by providing a barrier that traps in water.4 This limits itchy, dry skin and reduces the risk of infection.4
A type of medicine available in different forms, including creams and ointments, applied to the skin to reduce the inflammation and irritation associated with AD.9
If your skin isn’t hydrated enough, your doctor may recommend using a wet wrap before applying topical corticosteroids.10
This method uses two types of dressings. The first is moistened with warm water and then wrapped around the affected area.10 The second is left dry and wrapped around the first (e.g., a pyjama top).10
Talk to your doctor about how to prepare these before using the treatment.
Non-steroidal medicines that target your immune system to interfere with the production of the chemicals contributing to AD.12
Phototherapy uses different wavelengths of artificial ultraviolet (UV) light to help reduce itch and inflammation associated with AD.3,14
Biologic agents are processed in the body differently from oral medications and specifically target the underlying inflammation in the immune system that is associated with your AD signs and symptoms.8,15
Taken orally or topically, Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors reduce the activity of enzymes in the immune system (Janus kinases), which are involved in inflammation.17,18
Immunosuppressants broadly inhibit or prevent activity in your immune system to reduce inflammation associated with AD.20
Feeling lost in a sea of terminology? Our glossary can help you feel confident when you discuss your AD.Expand your vocabulary
These 6 quick and simple questions can give a dermatologist an idea of how controlled your AD is.Get started
Our Doctor Discussion Guide can help you feel more prepared for those all-important appointments.Discover the guide
Wei W et al. J Dermatol 2018;45:150-157.
Bieber T. Ann Dermatol 2010;22:125-137.
Wollenberg A et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2018;32:657-682.
National Eczema Society. Emollients factsheet. Available at: https://eczema.org/wp-content/uploads/Emollients-Oct-18-1.pdf Accessed: May 2021.
Ring J et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2012;26:1045-1060.
National Eczema Society. Emollients. Available at: https://eczema.org/information-and-advice/treatments-for-eczema/emollients/. Accessed: May 2021.
NHS. Emollients. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/emollients/. Accessed: August 2021.
Wollenberg A et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2018;32:850-878.
NHS. Topical corticosteroids. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/topical-steroids/. Accessed: May 2021.
Eichenfield LF et al. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;71:116-132.
National Eczema Association. Tips for using topical corticosteroids. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/tips-for-using-topical-corticosteroids/. Accessed:May 2021.
Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. Topical calcineurin inhibitors. Available at: https://www.rchsd.org/programs-services/dermatology/eczema-and-inflammatory-skin-disease-center/treatment/topical-calcineurin-inhibitors/. Accessed: May 2021.
National Eczema Association. Prescription topicals. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/topicals/. Accessed:May 2021.
National Eczema Association. Prescription phototherapy. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/phototherapy/. Accessed:May 2021.
New R. Pharmaceutics 2021;13(1):1-21.
Boguniewicz M et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2018;120(1):10-22.
Rodrigues MA and Torres T. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol 2020;52:45-48.
European Medicines Agency. New oral treatment for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Available at: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/new-oral-treatment-moderate-severe-atopic-dermatitis/. Accessed: May 2021.
Nash P et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2020;0:1-17.
National Eczema Association. Prescription oral. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/immunosuppressants/. Accessed: May 2021.