Many children suffer from a severe skin condition, called eczema, especially during the summer months. They often outgrow the condition but find little relief before they do so.
A new topical ointment, called tacrolinus, may be the help they need, reports Correspondent Sandra Maas of KFMB-TV in San Diego.
The ointment is a derivative of the same medications used to keep organs from being rejected by transplant patients. Doctors at San Diego Children's Hospital are testing it and thus far, patients have shown improvement in their condition.
"In topical formulation, it works very well to decrease itchiness and get the skin under control with very minimal problems," says dermatologist Dr. Larry Eichenfield.
Four-year-old Chandler Ingram had used various treatments to relieve his severe itching, but nothing helped. His skin has stopped itching since he was given tacrolinus with few side effects.
"Within a week there was a drastic change and he just got better and better and better," Chandler's mother says.
Steroid creams have typically been used to control eczema, but because they are absorbed into the body, they cause side effects such as growth problems and thinning skin.
Dr. Eichenfield says tacrolinus does not contain steroids and is safer.
Adults appear to benefit equally as well from the tacrolinus, experts say.
The treatment has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is only available on an experimental basis.