A drug for rheumatoid arthritis has successfully treated moderate to severe eczema, a research conducted by Yale School of Medicine reveals. Earlier studies also reported that this arthritis drug is effective in the treatment of two other disfiguring skin conditions namely vitiligo and alopecia areata. The study evidence shows that there is a latent treatment for eczema.

The research findings are published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that causes severe itching and leaves the skin red and thickened. Patients with eczema experience adverse impact on sleep as well as quality of life. Despite their adherence to existing standard treatments like steroid creams and oral medicines in alleviating moderate to severe eczema, it failed.

Yale School of Medicine’s assistant professor of dermatology, Dr. Brett King and his colleagues conducted the study to prove Dr. King’s hypothesis that a drug approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, tofacitinib citrate would interrupt the immune response that causes eczema.

The results of the study show remarkable improvement in six patients with moderate to severe eczema who had previously tried conventional therapies without success.

During the treatment, the patients, all six of them, saw a significant reduction in itch as well as improved sleep. Symptoms of eczema such as redness and skin thickening diminished, too.

Dr. King says that the six individuals who were part of the study were not only very happy about the outcome but they also expressed tremendous sense of relief at being comfortable in their skin for the first time in many years.

Recent published studies about tofacitinib citrate presented its efficacy in treating two autoimmune-related conditions. The first study showed that the said drug re-grows hair in patients with autoimmune-related form of hair loss called alopecia areata.  In another published study, the findings reported the successful treatment of patient with vitiligo, a skin condition that can leave widespread of irregular white patches all over the body.

The researchers even express that the outcome of the new study suggests that a change in the standard of care for eczema, a condition which has no targeted therapy, may be on the horizon.

As eczema affects millions of children and adults in the United States alone, the lead researcher, Dr. King hopes that this study would enter a whole new era in treating this chronic skin condition.

Nonetheless, the researchers note that further research is necessary to confirm the treatment’s long-term efficacy and safety for eczema patients.

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