Eczema typically presents as red, scaly patches of skin that are extremely itchy, crusting, or blistered. The itching can be so severe that it makes it difficult for the person to fall asleep and can cause self-esteem issues. If you scratch eczema on the skin, it could break open and bleed, which puts you at risk for secondary infections.
Eczema is usually an allergic reaction to something in the environment, such as chemicals, oils, fabrics, or stress. It can also be a result of very dry skin. Regardless of its cause, eczema is a distressing issue that many people deal with daily.
You can easily find treatments at your local pharmacy that are directed at eczema. Let’s talk about the most common over-the-counter treatments or medicines for eczema and what allergy doctors use to treat this condition.
Over-the-Counter Treatments for Eczema
There are two main types of OTC medicines for treating eczema: topical corticosteroids and antihistamines. Topical corticosteroids are applied directly to the skin and come in the form of creams, lotions, gels, ointments, pastes, foams, and sprays. They work by reducing inflammation and itching and eventually clear away eczema on the skin.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors, which reduces itchiness. Some people may experience drowsiness as a side effect, so it’s important to read the label carefully before use. Second-generation antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and levocetirizine(Xyzal) tend to cause less drowsiness than first-generation ones like diphenhydramine(Benadryl).
Doctor-Prescribed Treatments for Eczema
Over-the-counter treatments may not always be effective for eczema. Allergy doctors usually treat eczema with prescription antihistamines, biologics, and immunotherapy.
The two FDA-approved biologic medications used to treat eczema are dupilumab and tralokinumab. Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody that works by blocking the action of interleukin-4 (IL-4), a protein that plays a role in inflammation. Dupilumab is injected under the skin once every two weeks. Tralokinumab is another monoclonal antibody that works by blocking the action of interleukin-13 (IL-13), another protein involved in inflammation. Tralokinumab is also injected under the skin once every two weeks. Both dupilumab and tralokinumab have been found to be effective in treating moderate to severe eczema with fewer side effects than other treatments such as topical steroids or systemic immunosuppressants.
The risk with using OTC drugs to treat eczema is the potential for misusing them. Additionally, these drugs are not as potent as prescription drugs. With a medical condition like allergies, the most effective treatments are usually individualized to the patient under the guidance of an allergy specialist. For comprehensive, customized treatment for eczema, consult an allergy doctor for your care.
Eczema Treatment in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield, IL
The team at Oak Brook Allergists in northeast Illinois regularly treats patients with eczema. Our board-certified allergists treat adults and pediatric patients in our clinic. We understand how eczema can make life difficult, and we make sure you or your child experiences relief from the very first visit. We offer a range of treatment options and will let you know what we think is best for you or your child.
To schedule an appointment with one of our allergy doctors, call our allergy clinic today at (630) 574-0460 or use our convenient online request form.