Health & Spirit

Itching for relief from eczema?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Itchy and Scratchy debuted on "The Simpsons" in the fourth episode of the first season, in 1990. Known for their gratuitous violence, they are two of the most unsavory cartoon characters ever. But ask anyone who has to contend with eczema, and they'll tell you that's about right! Their "itchy" and "scratchy" symptoms are just as unpleasant.

Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis, or AD) can cause dry skin, itchiness and scaly rashes that can become infected. It can make it hard to sleep, cause emotional distress, social awkwardness or embarrassment. Often, strangers are cruel, fearing that the skin condition is contagious. It isn't.

Treatment Breakthroughs: There are two new medications that can be very effective for some people. According to information coming from the recent American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting:

--Crisaborole, the first new anti-inflammatory medication approved for treatment of mild to moderate AD in over 15 years, is an ointment that reduces itching, redness and swelling. It's for anyone 2 or older. A PDE-4 (phosphodiesterase 4) inhibitor, it tamps down immune system reactions that trigger inflammation, and stimulates changes in the cells on the outer layer of skin.

--Dupilumab is an injectable monoclonal antibody for folks 18-plus for whom other medications aren't suitable or don't work. It blocks interleukins 4 and 13, two cytokines that are associated with allergic inflammation.

Ask your doc if either of these is right for you. We hope so, because it would be great to scratch eczema off your list of difficult-to-treat irritations and conditions!



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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