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Lotion, Cream, Gel, and Ointment Similarly Effective for Childhood Eczema

Patient choice and personal preferences should guide selection decisions

By Physician's Briefing Staff | June 02, 2022

There are no differences in effectiveness between the four main types of moisturizers for childhood eczema, according to a study published online May 23 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health .

Matthew J. Ridd, Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared the clinical effectiveness and safety of the four main emollient types. Children (aged 6 months to 12 years) with eczema were randomly assigned to lotions (137 children), creams (140 children), gels (135 children), and ointments (138 children).

The researchers observed no difference in eczema severity between emollient types over 16 weeks. Results remained unchanged even with multiple imputation, sensitivity, and subgroup analyses. There were also no differences seen in total number of adverse events between the treatment groups (36, 39, 40, and 35 percent for lotions, creams, gels, and ointments, respectively). However, stinging was less common with ointments (9 percent) compared with lotions (20 percent), creams (17 percent), and gels (19 percent).

"A study of this type has been long overdue. It has not been in the interest of the manufacturers to directly compare types of moisturizer in the way we have done in this trial," Ridd said in a statement. "Our findings challenge conventions about how often moisturizers need to be applied, which types are less likely to cause problems and which patients should be recommended certain types."

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