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A clinical trial of tacrolimus ointment among dermatitis sufferers in Denmark and Sweden has found a “dramatic improvement” in their condition.

214 patients with moderate to severe skin conditions were given a cream containing 0.1% tacrolimus to apply twice a day until their condition cleared up when they were to switch back to their previous treatments.

After using the ointment, over half of patients said they felt their condition had no noticeable effect on their daily life. And in most cases, their eczema cleared up between 27 and 35 days after starting to use the treatment twice daily. Their condition remained clear for an average of 61 days after that provided treatment was maintained at least twice a week.

Dr Elisabeth Holm, who was part of the research team, said: “This is helpful information for us in telling new patients what to expect. They come in really hoping to be free of eczema after two days. If we inform them it will take several weeks they’ll probably be more adherent to therapy.”

Unusually, the study was conducted in real-life situations where patients had to buy their own ointment and report their own findings rather than be studied in a clinical environment. The medical team behind the study did not initiate contact with the research subjects and there were no official clinical appointments made for them. Patients simply emailed their experiences and answered online surveys using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) after a six week, three month, six month and 12 month period. Every one of 214 respondents registered dramatically improved scores throughout the timescale. No-one involved in the trial reported any adverse findings following treatment.

In total, 14% reported a DLQI of 6-10, 4% reported a DLQI of 11-20 and 52% gave a score of 0 or 1. This low figure means they feel their condition has very little or no impact on how they life.

Of particular interest was the fact a number of sufferers with severe eczema on their faces felt the cream helped relieve itchiness which was something they had been seeking for many years.

“This is what I find in my own daily practice, too. Patients come in and say, ‘Please give me a drug to remove my daily itch and I will be satisfied,’” added Dr Holm.

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis and is a chronic skin condition. It can be caused by certain working conditions where there is contact with an allergen or an irritant in materials such as oils, diesels, petrol, grease or industrial chemicals. Employers have a duty of care to protect employees from these substances by providing protective clothing.

Health and safety regulations state anybody who works with hazardous materials that may cause atopic dermatitis should be given overalls, gloves, boots and a mask to handle them. All protective clothing should be appropriate for the task too, so gloves made from cloth should not be used when dealing with hazardous liquids.

If you believe you may have atopic dermatitis caused by your work, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call us on 0800 122 3130 or contact us here to speak to a member of our team.