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AD prophylaxis in high-risk infants: Emollient emulsions may produce best outcomes

An assessment of various types of skin moisturizers suggests an emollient emulsion may be the most effective option to help prevent atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants.

Previous research has shown that early application of emollients or moisturizers can be an effective strategy for preventing AD in high-risk infants, but differences in the outcomes produced by creams, emulsions, and mixed types have not been assessed. In this study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology, researchers analyzed 11 randomized, controlled studies identified by PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane library searches to Feb. 28, 2022. The 11 studies included a total of 3,483 infants.

They found the three types of emollients achieved comparable results in AD prophylaxis. However, an additional analysis determined that emulsions may produce improved outcomes.

According to the meta-analysis, early application of emollients effectively prevented AD development in high-risk infants (risk ratio [RR], 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.88). Further network meta-analysis suggested that emollient emulsion might be the option of choice for preventing AD development in infants. The results showed a surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) of 82.6% for all populations, 78.0% for high-risk populations, and 79.2% for populations with food sensitization. The authors also noted that infants treated with emollients only experienced more frequent adverse events.

“The results of this systematic review and network meta-analysis show that early application of skin emollients can effectively prevent AD development in infants,” the authors wrote.

“Moreover, among the available three types of emollients, the emollient emulsion is probably the optimal option in infancy to prevent AD development more effectively.”

AD affects five to 30% of children worldwide, the researchers noted.


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