Antibiotics not effective for clinically infected eczema in children

March 14, 2017

Estimates suggest that 40 percent of eczema flares are treated with topical antibiotics, but findings from a study led by Cardiff University suggest there is no meaningful benefit from the use of either oral or topical antibiotics for milder clinically infected eczema in children.

Eczema is a common condition, especially in young children, and affects around 1 in 5 children in the UK. Eczema sometimes gets worse, or 'flares', and having particular bacteria on the skin may contribute to causing some of these flares. Quite often flares are treated with antibiotics, although there was very little research to show whether antibiotics are helpful or not.

The CREAM study was designed to find out if oral (taken by mouth) or topical (creams and ointments applied to the skin) antibiotics help improve eczema severity in children with infected eczema. All children also received standard eczema treatment with steroid creams and emollients (moisturiser) from their doctor.

Results from the analysis of data from 113 children with non-severely infected eczema, published today in the Annals of Family Medicine journal, showed no significant difference between the groups in the resolution of eczema symptoms at two weeks, four weeks or three months.

Researchers found rapid resolution in response to mild-to-moderate strength topical corticosteroids and emollient treatment, and ruled out a clinically meaningful benefit from the addition of either oral or topical antibiotics.

Dr Nick Francis, Clinical Reader at Cardiff University and practicing GP, who led the study said: "Topical antibiotics, often in combination products with topical corticosteroids, are frequently used to treat eczema flares. Our research shows that even if there are signs of infection, with milder eczema are unlikely to benefit from antibiotics, and their use can promote resistance and allergy or skin sensitization".

"Providing or stepping up the potency of and emollients should be the main focus in the care of milder clinically infected eczema flares."

The study 'Oral and Topical Antibiotics for Clinically Infected Eczema in Children: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial in Ambulatory Care' is published in Annals of Family Medicine.

Explore further: Safe treatments available for expectant moms' skin conditions

More information: Nick A. Francis et al, Oral and Topical Antibiotics for Clinically Infected Eczema in Children: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial in Ambulatory Care, The Annals of Family Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1370/afm.2038

Related Stories

Safe treatments available for expectant moms' skin conditions

March 4, 2016
(HealthDay)—There are a number of safe and effective ways to treat chronic skin conditions in pregnant women, a dermatologist says.

Use of topical corticosteroids in children with eczema does not have negative side effects

April 21, 2011
A new study published in the journal Pediatric Dermatology reveals that routine, long-term use of topical corticosteroids (TCS) for treating children with eczema does not cause any significant, negative side effects.

Eczema cases rising among US children

November 24, 2014
(HealthDay)—A growing number of children are being diagnosed with the allergic skin condition eczema—but it can usually be eased with topical treatments, according to a new report.

Eczema's effects more than skin deep

July 29, 2016
(HealthDay)—People dealing with the itchy skin condition known as eczema may have other medical conditions to cope with as well, including heart disease, a dermatologist says.

Early life exposure to antibiotics is related to increased risk of allergies later in life

September 5, 2016
Research presented today (6 September, 2016) at this year's European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in London, UK shows that exposure to antibiotics early in life is related to increased risk of developing ...

Study suggests symptoms of childhood eczema persist, likely a lifelong illness

April 2, 2014
Children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (AD or eczema) may have symptoms persist into their 20s, and the condition is likely to be a lifelong illness marked by waxing and waning skin problems.

Recommended for you

Gene immunotherapy protects against multiple sclerosis in mice

September 21, 2017
A potent and long-lasting gene immunotherapy approach prevents and reverses symptoms of multiple sclerosis in mice, according to a study published September 21st in the journal Molecular Therapy. Multiple sclerosis is an ...

New academic study reveals true extent of the link between hard water and eczema

September 21, 2017
Hard water damages our protective skin barrier and could contribute to the development of eczema, a new study has shown.

Exposure to pet and pest allergens during infancy linked to reduced asthma risk

September 19, 2017
Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age, new research supported by the National Institutes of Health reveals. The findings, published ...

Cholesterol-like molecules switch off the engine in cancer-targeting 'Natural Killer' cells

September 18, 2017
Scientists have just discovered how the engine that powers cancer-killing cells functions. Crucially, their research also highlights how that engine is fuelled and that cholesterol-like molecules, called oxysterols, act as ...

MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system

September 18, 2017
The immune system automatically destroys dysfunctional cells such as cancer cells, but cancerous tumors often survive nonetheless. A new study by Salk scientists shows one method by which fast-growing tumors evade anti-tumor ...

'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses

September 15, 2017
Scientists at the University of Southampton have made a significant discovery in efforts to develop a vaccine against Zika, dengue and Hepatitis C viruses that affect millions of people around the world.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.