Go to AAD Home
Donate For AAD Members Search

Go to AAD Home

When your child needs strong medicine to control eczema

Severe eczema

When a child has severe eczema, strong medicine may be necessary to get it under control.

Girl with severe eczema

When your child needs strong medicine to control eczema

Most parents can control a child’s eczema with:

Some children need stronger medicine to get relief. When good skin care and medicine applied to the skin (or light treatments) fail to work, your child’s dermatologist may prescribe medicine that works throughout the body. These medicines work on the immune system.

A dermatologist prescribes this type of medicine when nothing else works and the eczema greatly diminishes a child’s quality of life.

When prescribed by a dermatologist who has experience with these medicines, taking one can bring tremendous relief. While none of the medicines has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat eczema, each has been studied in patients who have eczema.

Children who have severe eczema have been treated safely and effectively with the following medicines:

  • Azathioprine

  • Cyclosporine

  • Dupilumab

  • Methotrexate

  • Mycophenolate mofetil

When prescribing one of these medicines, dermatologists carefully monitor each patient and prescribe the lowest possible dose.

If these medicines should not be prescribed due to a child’s medical history, another medicine that works throughout the body may be prescribed.

Another option may be to use a technique that can make treatment applied to the skin more effective.

Related AAD resources

Getty Images

Sidbury R, Davis DM, et al. “Part 3: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with phototherapy and systemic agents.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Aug;71(2):327-49.