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Published on 7 May 2009

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First eczema treatment granted UK license


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has backed the use of a new eczema treatment – the first of its kind to be granted a license in the UK.

Alitretinoin is recommended for use by patients with severe hand eczema who are unresponsive to potent topical corticosteroids. NICE said it should be given once a day, and only if the condition has failed to respond to previous treatment using oral immunosupressants or phototherapy.

John English, consultant dermatologist at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, said: “This preliminary recommendation from NICE is a significant advance in the management of chronic hand eczema since alitretinoin offers patients the potential to clear their hands of eczema.

“However, given that older treatments such as ciclosporin, azathioprine and PUVA are unlicensed and may have serious adverse effects, it should be the responsibility of clinicians to decide, after careful discussion with the patient, when their use is warranted in preference to a licensed therapy.”

NICE is expected to give its final guidance on the medicine in August 2009.

Copyright Press Association 2009


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