Hope for millions as NHS approves new pill that clears eczema in a week

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HOPE has been given to millions of people who live with eczema, after a new treatment has been approved on the NHS.

The pill has been described as “life-changing”, after patients said it could clear their skin within a week.

Eczema is a chronic and incurable condition which affects some six million people in the UK.

Its symptoms of red, itchy and dry skin can be managed, but for many with the condition, it comes back in flares and is unpredictable. 

The main treatments are moisturisers and topical corticosteroids (steroids) that reduce swelling and redness during flare-ups.

Tralokinumab is one of three new treatments that have been given the green light by the NHS, MailOnline reported.

Tralokinumab is a monoclonal antibody drug which blocks the activity of proteins called interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 – which trigger inflammation in the body.

It’s thought that eczema may be a condition of the immune response, which overreacts to pathogens that enter the body through a weak skin barrier. 

Jack Ransom, 27, from South London, said tralokinumab helped clear his skin in one week.

He had suffered from atopic eczema since he was three months old, trying the usual line of treatments.

In 2019, after a big flare-up of his skin, he signed up for a trial of tralokinumab at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Within 24 hours the itching was gone, and within a week of taking the daily tablets, a lot of his skin had cleared.

He said the drug had made “a huge difference to my life”, and most people are unaware he ever suffered from eczema. 

When results of US trials of tralokinumab were released in late 2021, experts described it as a “game-changer”.

Amy S. Paller, MD, the international coordinating investigator for the study, told Healio: “The adolescents that I’ve been able to treat with a biologic for atopic dermatitis have really had a change in their lives.

“They’ve developed confidence, they’ve been able to participate in sports and social activities that were impossible when their moderate to severe atopic dermatitis was controlling their lives.

“It truly is a game changer.”

The other two treatments doctors will be able to prescribe are abrocitinib and upadacitinib, known as JAK inhibitors.

They block the action of enzymes called Janus kinases which are involved in inflammation.

NICE recommends the drugs for over 12-year-olds with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis – the most common type of eczema.

It will become an option for treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis if the disease has not responded to other options. 

The NICE appraisal committee said there is an unmet need for people whose dermatitis does not respond to treatment, the British Medical Journal reported.

Dr Padma Mohandas, a consultant dermatologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, has described the new treatment as “life-changing”.

“Eczema is a common problem but in some cases it’s not easy to treat,” she said.

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