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Chlorpheniramine is no more effective than placebo in relieving the symptoms of childhood atopic dermatitis with a nocturnal itching and scratching component.

Author(s): Munday J, Bloomfield R, Goldman M, Robey H, Kitowska GJ, Gwiezdziski Z, Wankiewicz A, Marks R, Protas-Drozd F, Mikaszewska M

Affiliation(s): District Dermatology Clinic, Gdansk, Poland. imunday@intercern.com

Publication date & source: 2002, Dermatology., 205(1):40-5.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Childhood atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common disorder affecting 15% of children aged over 18 months. AD is associated with intense nocturnal itching. The central sedative effect of antihistamines is thought to be useful in interrupting the itching cycle and may prevent exacerbations. OBJECTIVE: A multi-centred, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was carried out in 155 children to evaluate chlorpheniramine in alleviating symptoms of AD. METHODS: Assessments were carried out over a 4-week study period consisting of 3 visits to out-patient clinics. During the visits the severity of AD and itching was rated using a series of visual analogue scale (VAS) and 5-point rating scales. RESULTS: The use of chlorpheniramine resulted in no greater alleviation of AD symptoms than placebo. CONCLUSIONS: The findings contradict conventional wisdom that the sedative effect of earlier-generation antihistamines alleviates symptoms of AD. The study also indicates that the use of antihistamines in AD does not affect the amounts of topical treatment used over the short term. Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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