Since at least 47 groups of interventions have been tried in atopic eczema, coverage of all therapy-related issues for atopic dermatitis is not possible, even in a chapter of this size. Instead, we have opted to introduce the evidence base for treating atopic eczema by means of three common clinical scenarios:
1. a child with moderately severe atopic eczema
2. a person with clinically infected atopic eczema
Much of the background work and methodology within the sections has been based (with updates) on the results of the UK National Health Service (NHS) systematic review of atopic eczema treatments which was published at the end of 2000. For a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of important areas, such as disease prevention, not covered in this chapter, readers are recommended to read the relevant sections of this report which is available free in the public domain (http://www.ncchta.org). Subsequent editions of this book and the book website will aim to cover these remaining areas. Given the large amount of data described in this chapter, the references are provided at the end of each therapy section, rather than at the end of the chapter.
Hywel Williams was responsible for writing the background section and the evidence summaries of tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, and for editing the other contributions. Jane Ravenscroft and Kim Thomas conducted the updated searches on Medline and Embase. Kim Thomas wrote the sections on emollients and non-pharmacological treatments, and Jane Ravenscroft wrote the section on infected eczema. Carolyn Charman wrote the section on topical steroids and Dominic Smethurst wrote the section on antihistamines and systemic treatments.
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