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Review Examines Topical Complementary Meds in Eczema

Of six studies displaying superiority to placebo, only two have low risk of bias across all domains

WEDNESDAY, July 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For patients with atopic eczema (AE), six studies assessing topical complementary and alternative medicines display superiority to placebo but only two (licorice gel and Hypericum perforatum) have low risk of bias on all domains, according to a review published online July 4 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Yasmeen Thandar, from the Durban University of Technology in South Africa, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the current evidence of efficacy and safety of topical herbal preparations in AE. Eight studies that met the inclusion criteria were identified, of which seven examined extracts of single plants and one assessed an extract from multiple plants.

The researchers found that six studies demonstrated a positive effect, but only two studies were considered to have a low risk of bias across all domains (licorice gel and Hypericum perforatum); these test products were reported to be superior to placebo.

“The promising results may warrant continued research in better-designed studies,” the authors write. “There is currently insufficient evidence of efficacy for any topical herbal extract in AE.”

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