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

Study sheds light on how body may detect early signs of cancer

July 26, 2017
Fresh insights into how cells detect damage to their DNA - a hallmark of cancer - could help explain how the body keeps disease in check.

Accounting for human immune diversity increases clinical relevance of fundamental immunological research

July 26, 2017
Mouse models have advanced our understanding of immune function and disease in many ways but they have failed to account for the natural diversity in human immune responses. As a result, insights gained in the lab may be ...

How genetically engineered viruses develop into effective vaccines

July 26, 2017
Lentiviral vectors are virus particles that can be used as a vaccine to stimulate the immune system to fight against specific pathogens. The vectors are derived from HIV, rendered non-pathogenic, and then engineered to carry ...

Does your child really have a food allergy?

July 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many people misunderstand what food allergies are, and even doctors can be confused about how to best diagnose them, suggests a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Genetic immune deficiency could hold key to severe childhood infections

July 18, 2017
A gene mutation making young children extremely vulnerable to common viruses may represent a new type of immunodeficiency, according to a University of Queensland researcher.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?

July 18, 2017
What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma in adults? This can be tricky because asthma can stem from several causes and treatment often depends on what is triggering the asthma.

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.