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Lancet. 1991 Jul 20;338(8760):137-40.

Double-blind, controlled, crossover study of cyclosporin in adults with severe refractory atopic dermatitis.

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  • 1Dermatology Department, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK.


A few patients remain severely affected by atopic dermatitis into adult life despite treatment with systemic steroids, azathioprine, and photochemotherapy. 33 patients took part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study to assess the efficacy and safety of cyclosporin (5 mg/kg per day) in adults with severe refractory atopic dermatitis. Treatments were given for eight weeks each with one group (n = 16) receiving placebo followed by cyclosporin and another (n = 17) receiving cyclosporin and then placebo. Disease activity, extent of disease, sleep and itch, topical steroid use, and adverse events were assessed every two weeks. Both extent and activity of dermatitis were significantly improved (p less than 0.001) as were subjective measures of disease. 20 patients receiving cyclosporin reported adverse events compared with 8 taking placebo, although no patient required withdrawal from the study. Cyclosporin therapy led to an increase in the mean serum urea, creatinine, and bilirubin concentrations, although only the rise in bilirubin was significant (p = 0.001). Our results confirm that cyclosporin is a safe and effective short-term treatment for severe, refractory atopic dermatitis.

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