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NICE backs emollients for child eczema

By Nigel Praities

NICE has encouraged GPs to increase emollient use when treating atopic eczema in children.

In its guidelines released this week, it says emollients should be continually used in children with eczema for ‘moisturising, washing and bathing' even if the eczema clears. Other treatments, such as topical corticosteroids, should be stepped up or down according to the severity of symptoms.

A review from the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin in October questioned the evidence that bath emollients – which cost the NHS £16m – had any utility in treating eczema.

But Dr Thomas Poyner, a GP in Stockton-on-Tees and vice chair of the Primary Care Dermatology Society, said he supported the widespread use of bath emollients.

‘This is an area where there haven't been a lot of clinical studies,' he said. ‘There is no evidence that bath emollients don't work.'

The guidance goes on to say a ‘holistic approach' is needed, including an assessment of a child's psychological wellbeing and quality of life. GPs are recommended to refer chil-dren if treatment fails to control eczema or it causes significant social or psychological problems.

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