Methotrexate, azathioprine equal for eczema

April 18, 2012

A study published in the April issue of the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that methotrexate and azathioprine may be equally effective treatments for severe atopic eczema in adults.

Amsterdam - A study published in the April issue of the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that methotrexate and azathioprine may be equally effective treatments for severe atopic eczema in adults.

According to HealthDay News, researchers at the University of Amsterdam undertook the study among 42 patients with severe atopic eczema. Randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, patients in the study received either a weekly dose of methotrexate or a daily dose of azathioprine. Patients were given the drugs for 12 weeks and were monitored over the course of a 12-week follow-up period. Severity of eczema was measured using a variety of tools, among them the Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index.

"Both methotrexate and azathioprine achieved clinically relevant improvement and were safe in the short term," the authors wrote.

The study notes that at week 12, patients given methotrexate had a relative SCORAD reduction of 42 ± 18 percent, while those given azathioprine reduced their SCORAD by 39 ± 25. Additionally, researchers noted that a similar number from both groups achieved reduced impact on quality of life and at least mild symptom reduction at weeks 12 and 24.

Despite abnormalities in blood count, more common among the azathioprine group, no serious adverse events were reported for either group. No statistically significant differences were observed in severity or number of adverse events.

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