New Treatment Approved For Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis is commonly referred to as eczema. The foundation of the condition is skin barrier dysfunction, whereby allergens and infectious organisms can penetrate below the skin. This results in the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals causing redness of the skin and a frequent intense itch. Scratching the skin causes further irritation, making the inflammation and itch even worse. About 85% of people with atopic dermatitis experience their first flare before age 5. Approximately 25% of pediatric patients have recurrent symptoms into adulthood. 

Regular moisturizing is vital to maintain a healthy skin barrier along with avoiding triggers such as perfumes, air fresheners, candles, and smoking. Using soapless cleansers and shampoos, stress reduction, and avoiding curtains and carpets to reduce pollen, dander, and dust mites can all be beneficial. Although most people have mild to moderate symptoms that can be managed with these strategies and prescription creams, about 10% of people have moderate to severe symptoms that may require advanced therapies that reduce the immune response. Some of these advanced therapies include biologic treatments composed of protein, typically given as an injection.  However, there are some newer targeted treatments made available in tablet form. The latest addition to the list of oral targeted treatments for atopic dermatitis is called Abrocitinib, marketed as CIBINQO. It joins another medication in the same family, upadacitinib (Rinvoq) which is also approved for atopic dermatitis. Both medications are swallowed once a day and prevent immune cells from generating excess inflammation. Charlton Health is pleased to offer advanced therapies for many conditions, and we welcome this new addition to our treatment offerings.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain, and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics. 

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