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November 1998

Atopic Eczema Between Rationality and Irrationality

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(11):1462-1469. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1462

Atopic eczema is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Its treatment is a matter of intensive controversy between rational academic medicine and irrational alternative complementary medicine more than any other skin disease. Rational therapy is based on a sound pathophysiological foundation. The complex pathophysiology of the disease includes interactions between genetic predisposition and exogenous provocation factors, and treatment necessitates an integrated holistic approach. Despite excellent therapeutic results with the methods of conventional medicine, which uses mostly drugs of natural origin such as glucocorticosteroids, patients with atopic eczema and their parents frequently seek complementary treatments that use unproven and unvalidated diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Treatments based on simplistic theories and irrational ideologies cause unnecessary long-term suffering to patients and are harmful because they withhold effective treatment modalities.

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