Now a study jointly led by the University of Dundee and Cardiff University – alongside the University of Bristol – is to examine the effectiveness of existing treatments.
Around 170 children with eczema in Tayside and Fife will be recruited to the CREAM (Children with Eczema Antibiotic Management) study, which will compare the use of antibiotic cream, antibiotic syrup, and a placebo.
“Eczema affects up a third of young children at some point in their lives and can cause terrible suffering to children and their families,” said Professor Frank Sullivan, Head of Population Health Sciences at the University of Dundee.
“Eczema flares are sometimes thought to be caused by bacterial infections but we do not actually know whether antibiotics reduce eczema severity in these children or whether the cream or the syrup works better.
“These treatments cost the NHS tens of millions of pounds every year at the same time as there is concern across the medical community of overuse of antibiotics. We need to gather much better information on the effectiveness or otherwise of these antibiotic treatments for eczema.
“If they are not working then we need to get better understanding of the basic workings of eczema, something which scientists here in Dundee have already done a lot of good work on.”
The CREAM study has been funded with a £1.2million grant from the Health Technology Assessment Programme. Over 500 children will be recruited to the study across the UK.
In Tayside and Fife around 30 GP practices will be working with the study team and will be starting to recruit patients this month.
NOTES TO EDITORS
This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment.
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