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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Feb 2020 - 14 Feb 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development


2020 Feb 13

Expert Opin Drug Discov

An overview of drug discovery efforts for eczema: why is this itch so difficult to scratch?


Hon K L, Loo S, Leung AKC, Li JTS, Lee VWY
Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2020 Feb 13:1-12.
PMID: 32050818.


: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a type of allergic/inflammatory dermatitis characterized by itch and an impairment in quality of life.: Herein, the authors review drug discovery efforts for AD, highlighting the clinical efficacy of novel drugs, with a particular focus on the relief of pruritus. Topical agents include emollients, topical antihistamines, corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors and herbs. Recently, topical phosphodiesterase E4 (PDE4) inhibitors like crisaborole have become available and are efficacious for mild to moderate AD with few side effects. For more severe AD, monoclonal antibodies like dupilumab are considered as efficacious subcutaneous treatment options. In severe and recalcitrant AD, systemic treatment can ameliorate AD symptoms.: Many topical and systemic medications have demonstrated therapeutic benefits for AD. Indeed, randomized trials have shown that topical PDE4 inhibitors and subcutaneous dupilumab are safe and efficacious. Objective tools to evaluate itch and gauge treatment efficacy is important, but current methodology relies primarily on clinical scores. AD is a systemic atopic disease with a lot of complicated psychosocial issues. Suboptimal efficacy is often due to poor compliance and unrealistic expectation of curative treatment, rendering treatment difficult despite the existence of effective medications.