• In a double-blind study, topically applied caffeine 30%-hydrocortisone 0.5% in hydrophilic ointment was compared to betamethasone valerate 0.1% cream and to hydrocortisone 0.5% in hydrophilic ointment. Eighty-three patients were evaluated over a three-week period for pruritus, erythema, scaling, lichenification, excoriation, oozing, and global impression. The betamethasone and caffeinehydrocortisone groups performed significantly better than the hydrocortisone group on three of the seven scales: lichenification, excoriation, and global impression. Also, the betamethasone group differed significantly from the hydrocortisone group on six of the seven scales, but did not differ significantly from the caffeine-hydrocortisone group on any scale. It is suggested that caffeine is effective because it elevates local levels of cyclic adenosine-3′, 5′-monophosphate by inhibiting phosphodiesterase.
(Arch Dermatol 114:60-62, 1978)
Kaplan RJ, Daman L, Rosenberg EW, Feigenbaum S. Topical Use of Caffeine With Hydrocortisone in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis. Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(1):60-62. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640130024007