Oral Steroids Seem To Work The Best When My Child's Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) Is Flaring. Is There A Problem Using Them?

Question: Oral steroids seem to work the best when my child's atopic dermatitis is flaring. Is there a problem using them?

Answer: While oral steroids can provide quick -- and sometimes dramatic -- improvement in a child's atopic dermatitis, unfortunately this is often followed by a significant flare of the disease when the medication is discontinued. Thus, a child might often be put on recurrent courses, or repeated courses, of oral steroids. And, after a while, concerns related to systemic effects of these strong medications arise -- concerns such as suppression of growth, bone thinning, ocular cataracts, thinning of the skin.

So we think that it's important that these drugs be used very sparingly in a chronic, relapsing illness such as atopic dermatitis and only under careful supervision of a specialist.

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