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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015 Jun;40(4):349-54; quiz 354-5. doi: 10.1111/ced.12591. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

What's new in atopic eczema? An analysis of systematic reviews published in 2012 and 2013. Part 2. Treatment and prevention.

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Division of Population Health Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.
Division of Allergy, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan.
Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Dermatology Department, Nantes University Hospital, Nantes, France.


This review provides a summary of key findings from 22 systematic reviews on atopic eczema (AE) published over the 2-year period from January 2012 to 31 December 2013, focusing on prevention and treatment of AE. For an update of systematic reviews on the epidemiology, mechanisms of disease and methodological issues, see Part 1 of this update. Based on current systematic review evidence, the most promising intervention for the prevention of AE is the use of probiotics (and possibly prebiotics) during the late stages of pregnancy and early life. Exposure to household pets, especially dogs, may also be protective, but exclusive breastfeeding for up to 7 months does not confer benefit. The role of vitamin D in preventing AE is currently unclear. Very few of the systematic reviews provided additional evidence for the use of specific treatments for AE. Further research is required to establish the role of desensitization, Chinese herbal medicines, homeopathy and specialist clothing. Nevertheless, there is now clear evidence that evening primrose oil and borage oil are not effective for the treatment of AE. There have been no randomized controlled trials on the use of H1 anti-histamines as monotherapy for the treatment of AE.

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