If you’re dealing with the most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis (AD), you know this chronic condition is beyond maddening.
It’s all rooted in inflammation. And when that flame flares it takes a whole lot of will power to keep from scratching at those unbearably itchy, scaly red patches that break out on the skin.
Of course, drug companies are always on the hunt to develop AD treatments. In fact, a new one was just given the green light by the FDA.
But Big Pharma’s promising new eczema treatment has some surprising competition.
When ‘nothing’ is better than something
FDA-approved treatments for eczema have a scary history.
Just a few years ago, two immune-suppressing cream products — Protopic and Elidel — were given black box warnings because they might pose a cancer risk.
Both of them are still on the market (I know, it’s crazy!). And while this new Rx cream, called Eucrisa, doesn’t suppress the immune system and appears to be a safer option (aside from reports of burning and stinging where it’s applied), as always, time will tell.
Which brings me back to its “competition.”
During the clinical trial, four weeks of Eucrisa use cleared or nearly cleared AD flare-ups in a little over 30 percent of the study volunteers who had mild to moderate eczema.
And guess what ELSE also cleared eczema’s itchy rash (either completely or almost completely) in 25 percent of the patients? None other than the “placebo.”
That’s right, good old placebo — that supposedly benign “nothing” that’s always used in clinical trials to see if a drug works. But as Big Pharma researchers often find out to their chagrin, many times that so-called nothing is almost as effective as a risky drug they’re testing.
Some also call that the “ritual of medicine.” In other words, you expect relief, and you’ll get it. But at its heart, the placebo effect is not about the power of positive thinking.
Rather than just someone saying they feel better, there can be measurable outcomes — like in this eczema study, where you could actually see a result.
Some experts say it works because when we have an expectation of success, the body produces its own curative chemicals to bring about relief.
But I’ll bet in many cases, that’s because the placebo isn’t just some inert sugar pill or cream, but a highly effective natural remedy that Big Pharma considers a worthless nothing. Of course you and I both know that Mother Nature’s bounty often delivers results far beyond what drugs can do.
And, with none of the side effects!
So, if you suffer from eczema, why not give some of these tried-and-true natural remedies a shot? While we don’t know what kind of placebo was used in this trial (it’s actually a secret), we do know that these have proven to be very popular among those suffering from this skin condition:
- Coconut and jojoba oil, applied topically,
- Shea butter, which also works very well when mixed with jojoba and coconut oil,
- Raw honey, which can be used to treat small areas of the skin (it gets a bit too sticky to try and put in on larger areas!), and
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as in supplementing with fish and flaxseed oil.
And considering that this new eczema med will be costing around $580 for a two-ounce tube, maybe a natural “placebo” might be a healthier option for your wallet as well!
“Novel eczema drug OK’d” John Gever, December 14, 2016, Medpage Today, medpagetoday.com