Three new medications have been recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), namely abrocitinib, upadacitinib and tralokinumab, to help NHS patients who have previously found other treatments to be unsuccessful.
The abrocitinib and upadacitinib will be available to patients over the age of 12 who are determined to have moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema), meaning the condition covers at least 10 percent of the body.
Tralokinumab, which comes as a prefilled syringe, will be available for adult patients who are candidates for systemic therapy.
Dr Padma Mohandas, a consultant dermatologist at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, noted that eczema is a common problem but stressed that in some cases it is 'not easy to treat', the Mail Online reports.
"In the worst cases it’s a debilitating disease that leaves patients feeling embarrassed, socially isolated and, in extreme circumstances, suicidal," he continued.
Patients currently have access to treatments such as moisturisers and creams, as well as existing medications such as methotrexate and ciclosporin which inhibit inflammatory cells in the body and target the immune system in a bid to prevent the condition. However, these can leave patients vulnerable to infections.
Abrocitinib and upadacitinib, known as JAK inhibitors, work by blocking enzymes which help to activate the immune response, preventing the immune system from attacking the skin.
The third treatment, tralokinumab, is a monoclonal antibody drug which blocks the activity of proteins which trigger inflammation in the body.
Dr Mohandas commented: "With these new drugs we can offer them hope that their skin will get better, which is life-changing."
Jack Ransom, from South London, signed up for a trial of tralokinumab at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2019 following a big flare up of his eczema.
The 27-year-old had suffered from the condition since he was three months old and throughout his childhood lived with dry, cracked skin, which caused him to itch constantly.
Reflecting on his experience, Jack told the Mail: "If you’ve got really cracked, flaky and puffy skin, particularly on your face, it has a big impact on meeting new people.
"It dictated what clothes I could wear as I would bleed through white shirts at school if I scratched too much. I would miss certain social events as it would make me feel unattractive – you don’t want to date somebody who is red, itchy and puffy."
Within 24 hours of taking tralokinumab Jack found the itching stopped, and within a week much of his skin was clear of the condition.
"I used to have to moisturise six to seven times a day, and I’d take a sack full of creams with me wherever I went. Now I just moisturise in the morning and in the evening," Jack said.
He continued: "Most people I’m around don’t know I ever suffered from atopic dermatitis as my cracked skin has pretty much gone. In social situations it’s made a big difference and made me a lot more confident."
The drugs have made Jack more prone to certain skin infections, though he stressed he does not regret taking the treatment and said he is 'really glad' it's now available to more people.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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