Azathioprine Can Soon Revolutionize Eczema Treatment

by Medindia Content Team on  March 19, 2006 at 12:24 PM Drug News   - G J E 4
Azathioprine Can Soon Revolutionize Eczema Treatment
Azathioprine, an immunosuppressant, meant for use in kidney transplant recipients can be used in treatment of eczema, a skin disorder. The drug was discovered 40 years ago, is still used to prevent the rejection of transplanted kidneys in renal failure patients.

In around the 1960s, Roy Calne showed that azathioprine prevented the rejection of canine kidney transplants. Following this finding, a combination of azathioprine and corticosteroids were developed, for use in patents with transplanted kidneys.

Atopic eczema is a skin disorder that affects nearly 10-15% of children. Approximately one-third of these children carry the disease symptoms, into adulthood. High doses of topical steroid creams are given. This is however not a very effective form of treatment. The lack of a proper available treatment sparked interest among the researchers, in search of a more effective treatment.

Although, some Dermatologists believed that azathioprine could be useful in eczema treatment, no clinical trials had been initiated so far. Nearly 63 patients with atopic eczema, a most common form of the disease were taken up into a 3- month clinical trial.

All the study participants had undergone a variety of treatments, including radiation therapy with ultraviolet light. Surprisingly, treatment with azathioprine was found to cure the irritating skin condition. Although the drug can have serious side effects such as increased susceptibility to infections, it can be minimized by modulating the drug dosage depending on the ability of the patient to metabolize the drug.

'I'd tried everything so had no hesitation in taking part in the trial. At its worst, I'd been covered from head to toe in eczema sores. It was so painful it stopped me from sleeping at night and it affected what I would wear because I tried to cover it up as much as possible. My eczema disappeared within a couple of months. It was the first time I'd been clear of eczema since I was a child,' remarked Lindsay Dodds, one of the study participants.

This path-breaking research has been conducted by Dr Simon Meggitt, Dermatologist, Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, in association with Prof Nick Reynolds at Newcastle University. 'This kind of promising development illustrates why we are so dedicated to raising funds for research into eczema and related skin disorders that blight so many people's lives,' said Matthew Patey, British Skin Foundation.


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Have had itching, stinging skin for years-unbearable at times. A doctor at emory university who is a dermatologist also specializing in immunology has just put me on azathioprine-let me hear from others
guest Sunday, April 27, 2008
Just started the same treatment with a doctor a Emory. How are you doing?
clarice Sunday, November 14, 2010
Interesting story of a drug that has been around for many many years and used quite commonly for immunosupression; especialy after solid organ transplants such as kidney transplantation.
guest Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The studies that have been done show tremendous effert in medicine. Although I think you should give more information about ultraviolet treatment and its side effects. Keep up the good work.
guest Wednesday, July 25, 2007

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