From the Journals

Fast, aggressive eczema treatment linked to fewer food allergies by age 2



Researchers in Japan report that infants with atopic dermatitis who are treated early and aggressively with corticosteroids develop fewer food allergies by age 2 years.

For their research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Yumiko Miyaji, MD, PhD, of Japan’s National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo and colleagues looked at 3 years’ worth of records for 177 infants younger than 1 year of age seen at a hospital allergy center for eczema. Of these infants, 89 were treated with betamethasone valerate within 4 months of disease onset, and 88 were treated after 4 months of onset. Most (142) were followed-up at 22-24 months, when all were in complete remission or near remission from eczema.

At follow-up, clinicians collected information about anaphylactic reactions to food, administered specific food challenges, and tested serum immunoglobin E levels for food allergens. Dr. Miyaji and colleagues found a significant difference in the prevalence of allergies between the early-treated and late-treated groups to chicken egg, cow’s milk, wheat, peanuts, soy, or fish (25% vs. 46%, respectively; P equal to .013). For individual food allergies, only chicken egg was associated with a statistically significant difference in prevalence (15% vs 36%, P equal to .006).

“Our present study may be the first to demonstrate that early aggressive topical corticosteroid treatment to shorten the duration of eczema in infants was significantly associated with a decrease in later development of [food allergies],” Dr. Miyaji and colleagues wrote in their analysis.

The investigators acknowledged as limitations of their study some between-group differences at baseline, with characteristics such as Staphylococcus aureus infections and some inflammatory biomarkers higher in the early treatment group.

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development supported the study, and the investigators disclosed no conflicts of interest related to their findings.

SOURCE: Miyaji Y et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.11.036

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