Key Treatment

Topical steroids and emollients are the mainstay of treatment for atopic dermatitis (Hanifin et al., 2004) (SOR: A). Topical and systemic antibiotics are used for AD with secondary bacterial infection; weeping fluid and crusting during an exacerbation should prompt consideration of antibiotic use (Hanifin et al., 2004) (SOR: A).

Topical calcineurin inhibitors (immunomodulators such as pimecrolimus and tacrolimus) reduce the rash severity and symptoms of AD in children and adults (Hanifin et al., 2004) (SOR: A). Dietary restriction is useful only for infants with proven egg allergies (Hanifin et al., 2004) (SOR: B).

The value of antihistamines in AD is controversial; if used, the sedating agents are most effective and can be given at night (Hanifin et al., 2004) (SOR: B).

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