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J Drugs Dermatol. 2011 May;10(5):531-7.

An over-the-counter moisturizer is as clinically effective as, and more cost-effective than, prescription barrier creams in the treatment of children with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis: a randomized, controlled trial.

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Department of Dermatology,Wake Forest University School of Medicine,Winston-Salem, NC 27104, USA.



Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a prevalent skin disorder with significant cost of treatment. Several prescription device moisturizers have been approved by the FDA to treat AD but are significantly more expensive than well-crafted over-the-counter (OTC) moisturizers. No studies have been performed to compare both the clinical efficacy and cost-efficacy of these prescription devices to OTC moisturizers.


The purpose of this study is to compare the clinical efficacy and cost-efficacy of a glycyrrhetinic acid-containing barrier repair cream (BRC-Gly, Atopiclair®), a ceramide-dominant barrier repair cream (BRC-Cer, EpiCeram®) and an OTC petroleum-based skin protectant moisturizer (OTC-Pet, Aquaphor Healing Ointment®) as monotherapy for mild-to-moderate AD in children.


Thirty-nine patients, age 2-17 years, with mild-to-moderate AD were randomized 1:1:1 to receive one of three treatments-BRC-Gly, BRC-Cer or OTC-Pet-with instructions to apply the treatment three times daily for three weeks. Disease severity and improvement was assessed at baseline and on days 7 and 21.


No statistically significant difference for any efficacy assessment was found between the three groups at each time point. The OTC-Pet was found to be at least 47 times more cost-effective than BRC-Gly or BRC-Cer.


The relatively small sample size of 39 subjects was not sufficient to establish OTC-Pet as superior treatment in AD.


OTC-Pet is as effective in treating mild-to-moderate AD as both BRC-Gly and BRC-Cer and is at least 47 times more cost-effective.


II-AF-ATD-Aquaphor, Comparing the Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Aquaphor to Atopiclair and EpiCeram in Children with Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis. REGISTRATION IDENTIFIER: NCT01093469.

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